Throws: Left – Bats: Left
Born: April 3rd, 1987 (Age 30)
2017 Stats: .254/.324/.508, 146 G, 555 AB, 36 HR, 101 RBI, 115 OPS+, 2.9 WAR
Jay Bruce has come a long way in the eyes of Mets fans. After his slow start with the team in 2016, many fans were hoping for a trade in the off season, but now that he’s gone, feelings have changed. Bruce came into the 2017 season ready to make a difference in the Mets clubhouse and he proved himself by hitting 29 home runs, 75 RBI and slashing .256/.321/.520.
Bruce was traded to Cleveland on August 9 and meshed well with his new environment. He seemed to have had an easier time adjusting to playing in Cleveland than he did after his trade to the Mets in 2016. Bruce came out swinging for the Indians and raked up 26 RBI in 43 games while helping the team push towards their second straight playoff birth.
Although he hasn’t played in center field since his major league debut, Bruce expressed his openness to moving around the outfield, and with an injury prone team like the Mets, flexibility is a blessing. The Mets even used Bruce as a first baseman after the infield had been so depleted from injury. Bruce was the team’s best hitter at the time and made the transition smoothly.
Later in the season, after the trade of Lucas Duda and injury of T.J. Rivera, Bruce spent more time at first and showed he could handle the position. He also had a bounce back season on defense with 10 DRS with the Mets though he was a -4 defender in right field with the Indians.
Bruce expressed his openness to returning to the Mets in 2018, and the team should seriously consider bringing him back. Along with being an offensive and defensive contributor, Bruce brings a veteran presence to an increasingly young team.
After having such a productive year, you can expect Bruce to be asking for a long-term contract. In fact, it’s been reported his early asking price is steep at five years, $80-90 million. It’s more likely he will have to settle for a three or four year deal around $13-14 million per.
The Mets have question marks all over the outfielder with Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes all suffering injuries last year that kept them out for extended periods. Bruce proved to be useful in not only the outfield, but as a handy first baseman when needed. The Mets need to bring in offense and Bruce could provide them with insurance at first and right field. Of course the price tag will likely drive the Mets out.