Almost two weeks ago the Mets brought back Jay Bruce on a three-year deal worth $39 million bucks. Bruce is a fine player but with the team operating on a very tight budget, was it the best use of resources for the organization?
It has been reported numerous times throughout the offseason that the Mets are operating with minimal amount of resources to use this offseason. Bruce will reportedly earn roughly $10 million this coming season. That is by no means a substantial amount and should in no way hamstring the team but when looking at this deal it is important to keep in mind the team has told us payroll is going down. When looking at it from that perspective, this is probably not the best use of the resources the team has when you think of their other needs.
For instance, the team has no starting second basemen right now. The team has been linked to players such as Jason Kipnis and Josh Harrison in recent weeks and in both cases, money has been an obstacle in acquiring both players, particularly Kipnis. Both players would have filled a larger area of need for the club and could have been a better use of resources. Not enough has been made of the fact that the Mets had their worst starting rotation ERA in team history and a bullpen that wasn’t much better. Earlier in the offseason, the team was indicating they wanted to put an emphasis on the bullpen in 2018. While they did add Anthony Swarzak, that $10 million dollars paid to Bruce could have been used towards adding a second arm to the pen. If you are going to have a plan, stick with it.
In fairness, it is not the worst deal and Bruce is definitely a good player to have on the team. The team does need the power potential he offers and could use a positive clubhouse influence brought back into the fold. However, Bruce does not offer much in the area of OBP or outfield defense, two areas in which the team must improve. Once Michael Conforto comes back this will most likely move him to Center Field, thus limiting his overall value by playing out of position as well. Bruce is well liked by the organization and Mets fans. But when you look at the big picture of what the team had to spend this offseason this money invested into Bruce could have gone to larger areas of need such as a rotation / bullpen peice, second basemen, or third basemen.