Naquin goes to 1st-place Mets from last-place Reds

MIAMI (AP) —

Tyler Naquin went to the first-place Mets from the last-place Reds and was on the bench for Friday night’s series opener at Miami.

New York acquired the left-handed-hitting outfielder and lefty reliever Phillip Diehl from on Thursday night in a deal for two teenage minor leaguers, outfielder Hector Rodríguez and right-hander Jose Acuña.

“It’s fun, exciting news. It’s been a whirlwind the last couple of hours,” Naquin said. “We have a good ballclub. It’s cool to look forward to that.”

Naquin, a first-round draft pick 10 years ago, was batting .246 with seven homers and 33 RBIs in 56 games for the Reds. He homered and drove in two runs Thursday afternoon in a 7-6 loss to the Marlins.

“Whatever they need, just take it day by day, and wherever I fit in,” Naquin said.

Outfielder Travis Jankowski was designated for assignment by the Mets, who also recalled left-hander Sam Clay and right-hander Stephen Nogosek from Syracuse and optioned left-hander David Peterson to the Triple-A farm team.

Naquin was drafted 15th overall by Cleveland in 2012 and made his major league debut in 2016, finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting after posting an .886 OPS in 116 games. While in Cleveland, he was teammates with current Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco.

Beset by injuries throughout his career, Naquin signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in February 2021 and batted .270 last year with career highs of 19 homers, 70 RBIs and 127 games.

He entered Thursday a .269 career hitter with a .774 OPS in 507 games over seven seasons with Cleveland and Cincinnati. He had an .805 career OPS against right-handers, including an .811 mark this year.

“He’s a guy that can play all three outfield positions, good defender, good thrower, runs the bases,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “He brings some things that all clubs need. Just another piece that we can maneuver and present a tough lineup.”

Naquin has a $4,025,000 salary and is eligible for free agency after the season. His acquisition pushed New York’s luxury tax payroll above $290 million, the new fourth tax level named after free-spending Mets owner Steve Cohen.

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