Jay Bruce is still a Met, despite the obvious notion that Sandy Alderson wants desperately to trade him. It has been a slow moving offseason for power hitters and it seems just about everyone including players and their agents have misread the market.
There have been very few moves made over the last few weeks, but finally we saw a couple of trades and both of them may have impacted the market for Bruce. Here is an updated list of teams that might still be interested in him.
Toronto Blue Jays
After having 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion and RF Jose Bautista elect free agency, the Blue Jays have over 80 home runs to replace. They already brought in DH Kendrys Morales on a 3-year $33 million contract, and with Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello available to play first base, it seems like they will shift their attention to right field.
Jay Bruce would be a great fit in the middle of their lineup with Josh Donaldson, Kendrys Morales, and Troy Tulowitzki, and they know that. Chris Cotillo reported that the Blue Jays are “making a push” for Bruce, as he would be a lot cheaper (and younger) than bringing back Bautista.
In return, the Mets could ask for reliever Danny Barnes. The 27 year-old pitched 13.2 innings for the Blue Jays in 2016, striking out 14 batters and recording a 3.95 ERA. However, in a minor league career spanning six seasons, he pitched to a 2.39 ERA, striking out an impressive 422 batters in 320.1 innings. He relies primarily on a fastball and slider combination, sounds like some Warthen could help get even better.
He could immediately bolster the Mets bullpen, and if the Jays were to add a high-level prospect to the deal, it could be a good haul for the Mets. Another player to keep an eye on his right-handed pitcher Joe Biagini who can start and relieve. Biagini dials his fastball up to 96 MPH, throws a hard slider at 90, while also throwing a curveball and changeup.
The last time the Mets and Blue Jays dealt with each other, it ended up working out pretty well for the Mets. They sent R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole to Toronto for Noah Syndergaard, Wuilmer Becerra and Travis d’Arnaud.
According to Jon Heyman on FanRag, the Athletics have interest in free agent Mark Trumbo. They have wanted to bolster their lineup after dealing Danny Valencia late last season, however signing a big time free agent like Trumbo goes against Billy Beane‘s MO. If the price tag for Trumbo gets too steep, a fallback option for them could be Jay Bruce.
The Athletics have already signed speedy outfielder Rajai Davis to a one year, $6 million deal which could limit their checkbook in the Trumbo sweepstakes.
Originally, Jay Bruce going to the Orioles would be contingent on whether or not they bring back slugger Mark Trumbo. However, they have recently traded for Seth Smith, a lefty corner outfielder. While Smith is not at the same level with Bruce offensively, he is still a decent and very consistent player. Despite the trade, the Orioles could still want a DH and that’s where Bruce comes in.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Philadelphia Phillies are looking to add a bat to play a corner outfield position or first base. From the free agent side, the Phillies are interested in Michael Saunders and Brandon Moss. On the trade front, the Phillies could be interested in a hitter like Jay Bruce.
Furthermore, according to Rosenthal, the Phillies are not interested in moving more than a lower tier prospect in exchange for a player like Bruce. They’re looking to get a hitter at a similar price for what they gave up to get Clay Buchholz and Howie Kendrick earlier this offseason.
It is possible the Mets keep Jay Bruce. The Mets have the option to trade either him, Curtis Granderson, or even Michael Conforto if they wanted. However, if they were to trade Bruce, it is most likely that he will go to one of the above teams – and according to a couple of reports the Mets may have to absorb some of Bruce’s $13 million dollar contract.