If you asked me last season, I would have laughed if you told me I’d be writing on Jay Bruce staying on the Mets. But here I am, arguing that the Mets should re-sign him
Jay Bruce was the player the Mets attempted to trade countless times last offseason. He was the expendable player, as there was already a stacked outfield with Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, and even Brandon Nimmo. There was a good mix of veterans and rookies — why would Bruce be needed too?
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In 102 games for the Mets this season, Bruce hit .258/.324/.524 with 104 hits, 20 doubles, 29 homers and 75 RBIs. He’s currently tied for seventh on the home run leaderboard, and was tied for third if you just look at the National League.
Yes, I know. Poor timing to write about this as Bruce had been in a little slump. Bruce went 0-for-3 in Wednesday afternoon’s loss to the Texas Rangers. He’s been hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Not good, I know.
But, droughts and slumps happen. Bruce was in quite the slump last season too. Just last September we were talking about how Bruce needed to be benched. And let’s not forget that game where Eric Campbell came in to pinch-hit for Bruce, as Bruce was struggling that badly.
Why am I writing about Bruce’s slumps in a post that’s supposed to argue that he should return to this team? Because his slump last year was bad. To the point that fans wanted him off this team, and even the organization wanted to trade him somewhere.
But, that didn’t happen, and he remained here. And what did Bruce do? He showed all of us what he could do. How powerful his bat is, and how much he can contribute to this team.
The numbers above don’t lie. On top of those numbers though, Bruce was leading the team in home runs this season. As if this wasn’t enough, he was also leading the team in RBIs and in hits. Let that sink in — the guy that most thought would be traded before the season began, was leading the team this season in home runs, RBIs, and hits.
Last season, the Mets exercised their 2017 option for Bruce that was worth $13 million. This season, they obviously didn’t have that option (ha, get it?!). And up until Wednesday night, they had the option of instead extending a qualifying offer, which they should’ve done. But now? They can re-sign him.
As Granderson will likely be dealt somewhere either this month through waivers or in the offseason, and as Lagares and honestly even Cespedes can’t seem to stay healthy, Bruce’s presence in the outfield will likely be needed in 2018 and beyond.