PHILADELPHIA – During the entire off-season, all I kept hearing was how the Mets needed to trade Jay Bruce because the outfield was too crowded and how could they find playing time for all of them? It was a reasonable question but I kept saying why in the world trade a guy like Bruce whose report card has always illustrated he is a core bat.
Sometimes in New York we get a bit provincial as we feel players MUST prove it HERE to prove their worth but if the truth be told, that’s a bunch of garbage. While the Reds were in their playoff run in the early part of this decade Bruce eclipsed 96 RBI’s on 3 occasions and did it again last year with a 99 RBI season. I my opinion, that represents an RBI machine and you don’t find those type of players on every street corner. The only way I would have traded Bruce is if I was absolutely floored with an offer and even then, I’d have to rethink it.
There is an old baseball adage—“the best trades are sometimes the ones you don’t make” and Jay Bruce fits into that category. I spent a bunch of time discussing this with him in spring training and he did admit that late last season his pitch selection was off prompting him to swig at bad pitches and take the ones that were in his power zone. Bruce spent countless hours in Port St Lucie working on this to perfect his pitch recognition skills.
We are so early in the season and have a long way to go but Jay Bruce is carrying this team right now. There will come a time when he will cool off but make no mistake about it—trading him would have been a huge mistake because power bats that drive in close to 100 runs don’t grow on trees. In Cespedes and Bruce, the team has two of them—a duo that will be very hard to handle for opposing pitchers all year long.
And with the great pitching this team possesses, you can’t make many missteps when you play the Mets. Because the margin for error is so small. Last night in Philly proved that as Jay Bruce took that small margin and slammed the door shut on the Philadelphia Phillies. Like I said, the best trades are sometimes the ones you don’t make