Heading into the 2022 season the Mets were comfortable using the the trio of Robinson Canó, Dominic Smith, and J.D. Davis as their DH and did not acquire another bat to specifically fill that role. Now here we sit a year later, with none of those three on the team and the person Davis was traded for having had one of the worst half seasons in recent memory.
After an outstanding 2019, J.D. Davis could never quite replicate that success he found early on. Whether it was wrist injuries or something else, he was clearly struggling at the start of the 2022 season. He hit just .238/.324/.359 with four home runs and a OPS of just .683, primarily in the DH role, before getting traded to his hometown team in the San Francisco Giants.
According to Tim Healy, doctors had told Davis it would take anywhere between 10-12 months for him to get full strength back in his left hand after surgery and at the time he was traded it had been 10 months post-surgery. Whether the wrist was feeling better or he got a boost from being closer to home, Davis’s season greatly improved in San Francisco. He hit .263/.361/.496 with eight home runs and an OPS of .857. With the Mets his fWAR was -0.1, while with the Giants it rose to 1.0. He also raised his wRC+ from 102 to 142 after the change in scenery.
Meanwhile his replacement in Darin Ruf was nothing but an abject failure which perhaps could be summed up in one tweet:
J.D. Davis with the Giants: 8 homers.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) October 5, 2022
Darin Ruf with the Mets: 10 hits.
If the Mets had stood pat at the deadline and not traded four players to acquire Ruf would their fortunes have been different at the end of the year? Would Davis been enough to help them win one more game to win the division? Perhaps or perhaps not, but before he was traded he did gift the team with an incredible play after long being criticized for his glove.
You’ve gotta be kidding me with this play. Incredible pick by any first baseman, let alone one who doesn’t really play first base. JD Davis with the play of the game. pic.twitter.com/wNpF8Xkog1— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) July 16, 2022
Davis’s time with the Mets was brief and his success limited, but his goofiness and epic postgame interview in 2019 made the team fun to root for. Shine on, you crazy diamond.