Though his play with New York may have warranted a bag of balls in return for his services, the Mets shouldn’t just give up on Jay Bruce.
For most of the offseason, the equation seems to have the same solution: the Mets trading Jay Bruce. I’m here to tell you why keeping Bruce wouldn’t be that bad.
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While it’s still the offseason, and a trade can literally happen at any given moment of any given day, New York needs to play their cards right and realize what they have. The reason the waters are lukewarm is because teams don’t want to overpay for a player who struggled mightily during parts of last season. The longer teams wait, the less they’ll probably have to give up.
From the Mets standpoint, they obviously have needs that still need to be worked out. If they do trade Bruce, one would think they’d look to shore up their bullpen. But as bad as Bruce was with New York last year — .219 BA through 169 at-bats — he’ll have a fresh start in a walk-season.
For Bruce’s sake, he needs to have a good season if he wants to cash out at least one more time during his career. Turning 30 years old on opening day — April 3rd vs Atlanta — a good season could land Bruce a 5-year deal from a team.
It’s not a secret that Bruce was a good player throughout his career in Cincinnati. While he never hit for a high average — .281 BA in 2010 was his highest and .248 BA for career — he always had power. Smacking 241 home runs through 4,650 at-bats, Bruce averages 31 home runs throughout 162 game/season. He also averages 94 RBIs through the same amount of games.
The main point is that if New York decides it’s not worth it to trade a power hitting outfielder for a bag of balls, some good can from having Bruce. They want to play guys like Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares, but I believe Bruce could succeed with a full season under his belt. With him in the lineup, the Mets offense will be that much more powerful. Especially that he’ll be playing for a contract, expect a good season.
We have a correlation between Bruce and Lucas Duda because both are big, powerful lefty bats who struggle mightily through cold stretches. We have seen in the past when Duda is hot, there really isn’t a better power hitter in the game. Duda’s problem is limiting his cold stretches and swinging at bad pitches. Sound familiar?
We pretty much know who Bruce is for his career. At a reasonable price for the 2017 season — $13,000,000 to be exact — I don’t think he’s the biggest problem on this team.
New York would be better situated to sign relievers to 1-year deals and give Bruce the chance to earn his spot on this team. He’ll hit .250-.260 at most, but those 30 home runs and 100 RBIs could be huge for this offense. If worse comes to worse, New York could always flip him at the deadline to a team who needs pop. The Mets should hold onto him and see how it plays out, rather than just deal him.