According to reports, the New York Mets and free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce have mutual interest in getting back together.
They tried to trade him last winter, were left holding the bag, had to play half the year without a true center fielder and eventually traded him to the Cleveland Indians. The New York Mets might still not have a center fielder, but they are interested in another go-round with free agent Jay Bruce.
Oh, to be a Mets fan!
According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the Mets and Bruce have mutual interest in getting back together this winter. While it didn’t make much sense for the Mets to keep Bruce last winter, this year it might actually make sense to bring him back — if the cost is right.
The Mets need a corner outfielder to start the 2018 season with young star Michael Conforto recovering from major shoulder surgery and prospect Dominic Smith struggling to get untracked at the MLB level last year. The 22-year-old made his debut last August and hit only .198/.262/.395 in 49 games with nine home runs and 26 RBI.
Bruce could return to the Mets to play right field and some first base, where the team also has a need for a veteran. After an ugly debut with New York after the 2016 trade deadline, Bruce hit .256/.321/.520 with 29 home runs and 75 RBI in 103 games before this year’s trade to the Indians. After the trade, he hit .248/.331/.477 with seven more home runs and 26 RBI. Bruce also added two home runs and four RBI in the ALDS.
Re-signing Bruce is probably not the answer to all of the Mets’ problems, but it’s a start. Their offense is predicated on power, and Bruce has generally been good for 30-35 home runs and 90-100 RBI for his career. With the value of one-dimensional power driven way down by the spike in home runs, the Mets should be able to afford a three-year deal for Bruce if they absolutely must bring him back.