The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies each have veterans on bad deals who don’t fit with the roster. Could swapping Jay Bruce for Carlos Santana work?
Perhaps the biggest albatross on the New York Mets currently not in the disabled list, Jay Bruce is someone the team needs to consider moving this winter. Finding a taker would be tough. Maybe the Philadelphia Phillies are a match.
Unfortunately, in this scenario, the Mets don’t necessarily win or get much back in return. It would require them to take on Philadelphia’s version of Bruce, first baseman Carlos Santana.
The Mets don’t need another first baseman, but they also don’t need another fading left-handed hitting veteran like Bruce. Santana doesn’t fit in with the future of the Mets nor does Bruce. So why make the deal?
Well, Santana is an upgrade defensively at first base and a more consistent hitter. Even when he doesn’t put up a good batting average, Santana draws walks. The Mets could use this in their lineup. He’s also a switch-hitter, which would help provide a little more balance.
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In addition to having a better 2018 and a more predictable future, Santana can play third base on an “as-needed” basis. He’s not going to win any Gold Gloves at the spot. However, he can become a suitable back up to Todd Frazier and play there for an extended period.
This works for the Phillies because their goal of trading Santana is to open up first base for Rhys Hoskins. Last year, Hoskins played most of the season in left field where he was atrocious. The team doesn’t have a plethora of outfielders, just several options to consider. There’s also no overabundance of left-handed hitters, making Bruce a helpful piece.
The financial part of this is the tricky part. Bruce takes home $14 million in each of the next two seasons while Santana’s paycheck will top $20 million both years. Since the Mets are getting the better player, but are also doing the Phillies a bit of a favor, something, where each team pays about $17 million for their new player, may make sense.
One big problem with this deal is it does little to open up the door for Peter Alonso to play at first base full-time. Unless they can also part with Frazier in a separate deal, there may be too many road bumps to drive over to make this happen.
Any chance at trading Bruce would mean getting very little in return or taking on an equally excessive player from another organization. I don’t see the Mets adding much to their payroll with this kind of a swap, which is why I could see them maybe considering Santana as it would only increase their payroll marginally and they do get a better player.
Deals like this don’t happen often. The salaries are too high and neither is a great fit with either team. Often, players like this live out their contracts on the original team.
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I’m still hopeful the Mets can find a match somewhere with Bruce. Ultimately, I expect to see him in New York for two more years with playing time decreasing in each.