Trade to Mets surprised Tyler Naquin: 'out of the blue'

Trade to Mets surprised Tyler Naquin: ‘out of the blue’

MIAMI — Tyler Naquin had heard trade buzz, but nothing connecting him to the Mets.

That changed Thursday night, when he received a phone call in Cincinnati informing him the Mets had acquired him. In the trade, the Mets also received minor league lefty reliever Phillip Diehl and sent minor leaguers Hector Rodriguez and Jose Acuna to the Reds.

“It was definitely out of the blue,” Naquin said before the Mets’ 6-4 victory over the Marlins. “I heard some things about other teams, but every year you kind of hear something around the trade deadline. I am sure it’s going to start heating up here in the next couple of days for everybody.”

The 31-year-old Naquin’s addition came at Travis Jankowski’s expense. Jankowski was designated for assignment to clear roster space for Naquin, a left-handed hitter and outfielder.

Naquin, who did not play in the Mets’ win, entered play with a .246/.305/.444 slash line with seven homers and 33 RBIs, bringing more to the equation than Jankowski, who was hitless in his last 29 at- beat. Naquin began his career with Cleveland, which included a World Series appearance in 2016.

Tyler Naquin
PA

“He brings energy,” said Carlos Carrasco, who spent four seasons as Naquin’s teammate in Cleveland. “Every time he’s in the outfield, he just goes out there and plays and he works hard. I really like that guy. I saw him the first time when I [was] in Cleveland. He was one of the best prospects they had and they brought him up and he played real well.”

Manager Buck Showalter said he views Naquin as a player who can help the Mets in whatever role given to him.

“He’s a guy that can play all three outfield positions, left-handed bat, good defender and thrower and run the bases,” Showalter said. “He can bring some things that all clubs need, just another piece that we can maneuver and present a tough lineup.”

Naquin’s presence will allow Jeff McNeil to play more at second base and not play so often in left field. With McNeil at second, the Mets are free to play Luis Guillorme more often at third, where Eduardo Escobar has struggled offensively, especially against right-handers.

“I think because of the versatility of Jeff and the versatility of Louie and Escobar, it allows us to move the pieces around and keep everybody physically intact and try to put our best foot forward every night,” Showalter said. “Not just pure matchups, but when somebody might need a day we won’t have a drop off in performance. Just another way to attack the rest of the season.”

Naquin’s arrival came a week after the Mets acquired Daniel Vogelbach, another left-handed bat, from the Pirates. The Mets will head to the trade deadline Tuesday with a right-handed hitter and bullpen help on the radar.

Naquin is welcoming the opportunity to play for a postseason contender, having escaped a last place predicament with the Reds.

“They have got a good team here, just all the way through the lineup,” Naquin said, noting that he faced Max Scherzer during the Mets’ trip to Cincinnati earlier this month. “You are going to get the brunt of it for sure, so it’s exciting. … It’s a good ball club, a good staff and I hear it’s a good environment.”

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