The New York Mets have informed outfielder Jay Bruce that they have picked up his $13 million option for the 2017 season. The Mets have all but prepared for Yoenis Cespedes to opt out of his contract and enter free agency, which leaves Bruce as a viable replacement if no new deal can be reached between both parties. The $13 million price tag that follows Bruce could actually be considered a bargain due to the high-priced contracts that are going to be handed out this winter to many position players.
The Mets as of right now don’t seem to have a specific plan for Bruce heading into the 2017 season. Bruce’s fate essentially lies in the hands of Cespedes, who is expected to enter free agency, and the organization is going to see what happens on that front before deciding what to do with the 29-year old slugger. Bruce never fit like the Mets originally envisioned when he was acquired, as he hit a lowly .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBI’s in 50 games played. A far cry from the numbers he was putting up for the Cincinnati Reds prior to the Trade Deadline, as he was leading the National League in numerous offensive categories.
If Cespedes returns to the Mets, Bruce will become expendable and more likely than not will be traded to fill other holes on the roster. Basically all in all, while Bruce’s option has been picked up by the Mets, there is still no guarentte that he will be on the Opening Day lineup come 2017. It will be a wait and see approach regarding the Mets outfield from here on out and it begins with Yoenis Cespedes decision.
- Jon Niese will be going under the knife today to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The arthroscopic procedure is expected to sideline the left-hander for 4 weeks and it is very possible we have seen the last of Niese this season. If his season is indeed over he ends the year with an 8-7 record with a 5.50 ERA between the Mets and the Pirates. The 29-year old lefty carries a $10 million club option that surely will be bought out by the Mets this offseason for the smaller rate of $500,000.
- After leaving last night’s game in the second inning after hitting a double, Jay Bruce was diagnosed with a right leg cramp. Bruce was pulled from the game and pinch ran for by Alejandro De Aza who took Bruce’s position on the field. Manager Terry Collins had stated after last night’s game that Bruce’s calf had knotted up during the first inning while he was in the field. The injury reportedly stems from Bruce fouling a ball off his leg. We can safely consider Bruce day-to-day but the amount of injuries the Mets have faced this season is beyond ridiculous.
- The Mets will recall left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin (pictured) from Triple-A Las Vegas prior to tonight’s ballgame and demote recently promoted reliever Erik Goeddel. The 26-year old Gilmartin has pitched nine innings for the Mets this season and posted a 7.00 ERA. The lefty has primarily functioned as a starting pitcher over in Las Vegas and has posted a 9-7 record with a 4.86 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 107.1 innings. Goeddel allowed two runs in 1.2 innings pitched last night while allowing one walk and striking out three.
Since Jay Bruce has joined the Mets lineup on August 2nd, the Mets are 6-11 in the 17 games he has played. Bruce is only hitting .176 (12-75) with only two home runs and six RBIs, while whiffing 16 times. Now many baseball people said the trade wasn’t a good fit for either side and it seemed like a desperation heave by Sandy Alderson and company. I however believed it was a good trade as Bruce was the top run producer in the National League, while also being one of the the most clutch hitters with runners in scoring position something the Mets lacked. I get it Bruce wasn’t going to come over and have an impact such as Cespedes did last year because they are two totally different players. To me Jay Bruce is almost the same kind of player that Lucas Duda is offensively, high power numbers without hitting for a high average.
But we have hardly seen the numbers Bruce was producing with the Reds prior to coming over to the Mets. Granted the Mets have struggled to put a healthy lineup filled with regulars around him, but Bruce has turned into what the Mets were prior to acquiring him. A lowly .293 slugging percentage isn’t what the Mets signed up for when they gave up highly touted minor leaguer Dilson Herrera for Bruce. Bruce will receive a day off today after failing to come up big in last night’s contest, where for the first time he was surrounded by a regular lineup with the return of Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes. The frustration on Bruce’s face in the dugout last night said it all.
While his objective is to help the Mets reach the postseason over the next couple of weeks, the way things have gone recently Bruce may be soon playing for a spot on the team for 2017. Bruce has an affordable $13 million team option that the Mets will surely pick up unless they plan to cut ties altogether and buy him out for $1 million (which would be highly unlikely). But if he can’t turn it around the Mets may simply deal him if they are able to retain Cespedes which should be their top priority heading into the offseason.
Will the real Jay Bruce please stand up.
According to multiple reports the New York Mets have acquired outfielder Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds for second baseman Dilson Herrera and left-handed pitcher Max Wotell.
While the fit may seem odd considering the Mets are crowded at the outfield corners, the Mets need as much offense as they can get right now. Bruce provides the Mets a solid power threat in their lineup and also provides Yoenis Cespedes with protection, something he hasn’t had all season. We have seen the kind of player Cespedes can be when he has protection behind him, and I look at this deal as a great pickup for the Mets as they didn’t give up too much to get him. Speaking of protection again, the trade also provides the Mets protection if Yoenis Cespedes needs to spend time on the disabled list with his quad injury that hasn’t improved, or if he decides to walk in the offseason. The Mets will hold a $13 million option on Bruce for next season.
The Mets are clearly gunning for the postseason with this trade as they sit 2.5 games back of the Wild Card and 6.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East. The Mets have the pitching to make a run at either postseason spot, but it was just a matter of them finding some offense to help them get there which was the problem last year entering the deadline. The 29-year old Bruce is having one of the best seasons of his career as he is hitting .265 with 25 home runs and an NL leading 80 RBI’s in 97 games played this season. Bruce also hits with men on base, something the Mets can’t do, as he is hitting .360 with runners in scoring position with 8 home runs and 52 RBI’s. He provides the Mets with that big power threat they have missed since Lucas Duda has been on the shelf.
Terry Collins will most likely play Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson in center field for the rest of the season, while having both Bruce and Cespedes taking over the corners. The Mets can afford to sacrifice defense for offense in this scenario as they clearly have been historically bad with the bats this season.
The Mets were able to keep both Amed Rosario and Conforto, who were two players that many teams are high on and have certainly asked for. It was certainly hard to swallow that the Mets traded Dilson Herrera as he was considered the second baseman of the future and slated to start for the Mets as early as next season. The other piece in the deal, Max Wotell is ranked as the Mets 16th prospect by MLB.com. The 19-year old lefty was pitching for the Rookie League Kingsport Mets, and was the Mets third round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
The Mets also tried working out a deal for Jay Bruce last season in exchange for Zack Wheeler, but the Reds eventually wanted more and the Mets wound up with Cespedes. Interesting what a difference a year makes.