A few months after sending him off to the Indians, the Mets and OF Jay Bruce are showing signs that both sides are at least interested in working out a deal, according to a report from Newsday.
Throughout the 2017 season, Bruce was the Mets best power hitter. There were even times where Bruce was on pace to break the team single season home run record. That record of 41 home runs is held by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley. When he was traded, Bruce was at 29 bombs and finished the season with 36, a career high.
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The Mets could really use that kind of power again once the 2018 season begins. Between the Mets and Indians, Bruce also went on to drive in 101 runs, just the second time in his career he reached the 100 RBI mark.
Having Bruce in the outfield along with a healthy Yoenis Cespedes would prove to be one epic combo. Bruce however wouldn’t be limited to just the grass. Last season, he started ten games as the team’s first baseman, and if needed can start there more often.
The Mets have recently been looking for another first baseman to hold down the position while Dominic Smith works on his game, and having Bruce fill in might be a great start.
Skill isn’t the only reason that Bruce could be a good fit for next season. During his time with the Indians, he already started working on a relationship with then pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
If the Mets can sign Bruce for a similar price range, it’s a no-brainer to make a deal. Even if he costs more than last season it’s well worth it, especially if Bruce is also interested in a return.
The real question is, how long would a deal be for?
Recently, the Mets have been great at short one and two year deals. Bruce was no exception to that after being traded after playing for one full year, but there might be a small problem with bringing him back if they only want him for the same reason.
If the Mets already hope to bring the offense back up and contend next season, it wouldn’t make sense to sign him for a year. Trading him halfway or letting him play out one good season just wouldn’t work. If the Mets aren’t already expecting to flail around next season, they would want to keep Bruce for a while.
Ideally, a two or three year deal would work. Bruce would serve as a set power option along with Cespedes for at least next season. Whether he’s willing to accept a deal that’s less than four or five years, however, remains to be seen.