Mets DFA Darin Ruf, Tim Locastro to make Opening Day roster

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The New York Mets’ Darin Ruf experiment is officially over — and it couldn’t have gone much worse. 

As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Monday, the Mets opted to cut ties with the 36-year-old designated hitter after a miserable spring followed a disastrous three months in Queens following his acquisition from the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline. 

In hopes of creating a DH platoon with Daniel Vogelbach — a left-handed bat who does well against right-handed pitching — Ruf failed to live up to his track record of feasting off left-handed pitching, batting just .152 (10-for-66) with no home runs and seven RBI across 28 games for the club.

New York gave up four players in the deal, most notably veteran JD Davis who couldn’t run away with the team’s DH job that prompted GM Billy Eppler to acquire Vogelbach and Ruf last summer. The Mets also gave up left-handed pitcher Thomas Szapucki, and other pitching prospects Nick Zwack and Carson Seymour.

Eppler alluded to Ruf’s uncertain future with the team on Sunday when asked if he made the team.

“We haven’t announced the Opening Day roster yet,” Eppler said. “So we’ll announce that, I don’t know, 11:59 on Thursday.”

He went just 5-for-30 (.167) with one RBI across 11 spring-training games. The Mets owe him $3.5 million which includes $3 million for 2023 and a $500,000 buyout for his 2024 option. They can offset that money by trading him before Tuesday.

Tim Locastro Mets
Tim Locastro (Wikimedia Commons)

Expected to take his place on the Mets’ Opening Day roster is outfielder Tim Locastro, who impressed enough in spring to make the bigs after being brought in on a minor-league deal. The 30-year-old Syracuse native batted .289 with a .907 OPS, one home run, eight RBI, and six stolen bases across 23 spring-training games.

Not only will he provide added speed to a Mets lineup that doesn’t boast the most fleet-of-foot-nine, but he also can provide a better backup option in center field behind Brandon Nimmo. Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Tommy Pham — the other outfielders on the Mets’ roster — are natural corner outfielders.

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