New York Mets tested their luck one too many times with Jay Bruce
By Tim Boyle
Jay Bruce is on his second tour with the New York Mets. Unfortunately, when it comes to transactions involving him, the team didn’t quit while they were ahead.
Ask anyone and they will agree Jay Bruce has not performed well in 2018. Following a really good year with the New York Mets in 2017, the team decided to bring him back on a three-year deal this past winter. Thus far, the results have been horrifying.
Bruce has battled injuries throughout the year. This is still no excuse for how badly he has played or how big of a mistake it was to sign him in the first place.
When the Mets first signed Bruce, opinion on the move seemed split. There was no denying he could give them a boost in the power department this season. There was also a question about whether or not they overspent on a guy with almost no interest from other teams in free agency.
The Mets weren’t always so unlucky with Bruce. Though he struggled when first acquired in 2016, he began to turn things around late. Bruce helped them win one of the Wild Card spots following his lengthy slump early on whilst with New York.
The initial trade which landed Bruce had turned into a steal for the Mets. In exchange for Bruce’s services, the Mets gave up highly-touted second base prospect Dilson Herrera and minor league pitcher Max Wotell.
Wotell failed to do much of anything in the Reds’ minor league system. He was recently released after several campaigns of posting ERAs well over a respectable total. As of his release from the Reds in 2018, Wotell has a professional ERA of 6.81.
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Meanwhile, Herrera has failed to live up to even the smallest of expectations. He wasn’t promoted to the MLB roster until last week. His minor league numbers are far from fantastic, but not enough to give up on him already.
All things considered, the Mets benefited from the original Bruce trade. The fact that they were able to deal him away again a year later for Ryder Ryan (who has pitched well) adds yet another W to their history in transactions with Bruce. Looking at his 2018 numbers, they were lucky to deal him away for anything at all.
Sadly, they didn’t quit while they were ahead.
By bringing Bruce back in 2018, the front office gambled on this limited veteran. A commitment of $39 million over three seasons isn’t an extraordinary amount in sports. However, it’s an overpayment for a guy with his abilities.
Bruce is a limited player. He’s an outfielder who belongs at first base or the DH spot. On another team, he might have a role. On the 2018 Mets, he’s yet another unproductive bat on a team hungry for any offense at all.
The fact that Bruce played so poorly for the Mets when they first traded for him should have been a sign of some woes to come. Instead, they hoped the hot start in 2017 could transfer over to 2018.
Next: Five Mets who are July trade candidates
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As we have all seen, his best days are likely in the past.