Chad Thornburg of MLB.com reported the Mets and Jay Bruce have come to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal to return to New York, pending a physical. The club has not yet confirmed. What this means is that the Mets are alive and kicking in the cold winter, as they try to improve their team. Until this news surfaced, there was no activity on the part of the Mets to do anything to help their club in the off season.
Sure it isn’t close to the block buster move the Yankees pulled off in acquiring Giancarlo Stanton or any of the other moves the Bombers made this off season but it is something. The Mets will always play second fiddle to the monster that is the Yankees in this town and I don’t see that changing any time soon. If they were in a city where they were the only major league baseball team, they would be talked about differently.
The Yankees saw the Dodgers and Giants move out of New York 60 years ago and since, have (except for a few years) been the biggest thing in New York. Finally the Mets get the headlines this winter. This deal to bring Bruce back to Queens is a good move. He is a solid, everyday major leaguer who has become a 35 HR, 100 RBI guy in the past 2 years with an average of 28 home runs per year over a ten year career in the major leagues. At 30 years old, a three year deal is a good for the Mets.
When Bruce was traded to the Cleveland Indians for a little-known A-ball pitcher Ryder Ryan, we were all saying, “what the heck was that all about?” Ryan was drafted in the 40th round (1208th overall) by the Indians in 2014 (did not sign) and then drafted in the 30th round (902nd overall) by the Indians in 2016. The chances of Ryan even making it to AA ball are slim.
With Bruce back, things seem to have worked out nicely for the the Mets. Along with Yoenis Cespedes, he will help to give them the potential for some power in the middle of the lineup. They will undoubtedly ask him to play some first base, giving Dominick Smith time to learn and grow. If all goes according to plan, Smith should be the full time first baseman by the end of the year.
The best part of this move though is the fact that it is a move. The Mets have been skittish in making off season signings in recent years, except for signing Cespedes. After dumping big contracts in trades last year, they now have money that will be needed to re-sign that young rotation of studs. That is going to be soon and will cost them a bundle. Plus, they can use some of this new found money to go out and get a free agent or two that can help the club.
Through the years the Mets have always won with their pitching. They don’t need to score seven runs a game like the Yankees will probably do this year with the lineup they have. Adding Bruce will give them a better shot of providing a few runs for this still young brilliant staff to win games.
They have nothing in their farm system that could be used to get a catcher like Miami’s J.T. Realmuto or Toronto’s third baseman Josh Donaldson so they must chip away in the free agent market. No, it is not a block buster acquisition but it is a start.