It’s no state secret the Mets want to trade either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson. The whole world knows it and frankly, with free agents like Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo out there, the market for 30-something outfielders who hit 30-something homers is rather thin.
In fact, general manager Sandy Alderson seems resigned to the fact both outfielders will be in Met camp when it begins next month.
“The situation right now has been created by the number of free agents that exist,” Alderson said to reporters at Citi Field. “But on Day 1 of spring training, most of those free agents are going to be signed. They are not going to be in the market, so from our standpoint we just have to monitor our needs together with what other clubs may need and be able to respond under the circumstances.”
This may not be an ideal scenario, but remember Bruce’s $13 million salary doesn’t kick in until opening day.
So the Mets have more than 30 days to resolve this situation, but even if they can’t dump off Bruce during spring training, Alderson needs to keep his resolve and be prepared to start the season with Bruce, Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes as his starting outfielders.
Right now, Bruce doesn’t have a lot of value after hitting only .219 in a Mets uniform. Teams want Alderson to pick up money on his contract. However, if Bruce gets out to a hot start, his value will just increase, while Alderson, waits for the market to come to him. Some contending team will be an outfielder short and a trade will be made.
Of course, this sounds like good sense, because it’s not my money I’m spending. But if the Mets want 2017 to be their year, they can’t do it on the cheap. They need to spend like a big market team to go back to the World Series this season.
With their starting staff looking to come back at full strength, this year is their best chance to win the World Series. So, what’s $13 million in the relative scheme of things?
Also by keeping Bruce, the Mets will also have insurance if any of the other outfielders go down for any significant time. As you know, they aren’t always the healthiest team out there, and many times, these log-jams tend to free up themselves.
But any move (or non-move) with the outfielders can’t preclude Alderson from addressing the bullpen. They are expecting a suspension for Jeurys Familia and need another arm or two, no matter how satisfied he seems with what’s on the roster right now.
“We actually think [the bullpen] could be a strength for us with what we have,” Alderson said. “With respect to the payroll we are at a number that is tolerable (around $150 million), but there are limits to what any club can do to improve its roster and at the same time we’re pretty happy with what we have currently.”
If that’s GM-speak, then fine, but if they have to stretch it another $15 million to re-sign Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas, then do it.
Remember, seasons like these are very fleeting and the Mets are not going to have golden chances like this too many more times.
Take Bruce into the season and strengthen the bullpen. There’s always time for a trade later.