Jay Bruce could be good buy-low candidate for Mets

Posted: September 4, 2014 in Hot Stove, News, Opinion
Tags: , , ,

By Steven Inmanindex

As the Mets get ready for their annual winter search for more power hitters, an interesting trade candidate is emerging.

The Cincinnati Reds expected to contend this season but after the worst second half in the majors to date, (15-29) they have all but fallen out of the race. Now the Reds enter an offseason where their three huge contracts, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey missed significant time due to injury and their four best starters are entering their walk years.

Johnny Cueto, Matt Latos, Mike Leake, and Alfredo Simon are all free agents after the 2015 season. Reds GM Walt Jocketty has already mentioned that the team will not be able to retain all of them as free agents and could trade a few of them this winter. If the Reds sell off aces like Cueto and Latos, chances are they would be willing to discuss slugger Jay Bruce.

Bruce, 27, was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012 but is having his worst big league season. The slugger is batting just .219 with 15 homers. Bruce had hit 96 homers in the previous three seasons so the Reds must be shocked to see Bruce struggle so much this season.

Without key cogs like Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips on base in front of him, Bruce has just 59 RBI this season. Bruce has struck out a rough 28% of his plate appearances this season, a career high.

The Reds will definitely listen on Bruce, who will be a free agent after the 2016 season if they decide now is the time to sell off their pitchers. The Reds could elect to go for it one last time with Cueto and Latos but it will only make their rebuilding efforts that much more difficult.

Bruce is owed $24.5 million through the 2016 season. The contract also has a $13 million club option for 2017. While that may be difficult for a team to absorb like the Mets, trading players like Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy could create room for this small revenue club. (The Mets are going to try and move those two players anyway)

Bruce has finished 10th in the MVP voting the past two season. He recently told Cincinnati.com that “this has been the most embarrassing year of my life,”

Bruce could cost a lot in prospects but nothing compared to what he would have fetched a year ago. This is definitely something the Mets must look into this winter as they look for more offensive help.

  1. Mike Young says:

    Steve – Jay Bruce is way to expensive for the Wilpons. In addition, Jay Bruce apparently can be had by pitchers who don’t have to deal with productive hitters like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the same lineup. The Mets do not have the equivalents of a healthy and productive Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips for a now starting to age Jay Bruce to resurge and prosper as a Met. With Daniel Murphy presumably gone and David Wright regressing more and more Jay Bruce would only tether the Mets deeper into their continuing mode of mediocrity. Jay Bruce is not the solution. He would only reinforce the on going problem. It is time for the young Mets, TDA, Hererra, den Dekker, Lagares, Kirk, etc. and vets Wright, Granderson, and now Duda to all finish what they started as the new BP of Black, Famila and Mejia holds and saves wins for Harvey, de Grom, and Wheeler with Syndergaard making the rotation out of ST in 2015. That leaves either Colon or Gee as the odd man out in 2015. They can’t and shouldn’t keep both of them. Montero should be in the Mets BP in 2015. Mike

    • Steven Inman says:

      Mike this is a very interesting take on Bruce. I would think he wouldnt be the Mets only ove this winter but he is just 27 and has a few 30 HR 100 RBI seasons on his resume. He would be a great fit on paper but perhaps you are right maybe he just struggles when he doesn’t have other bats around him, which he wouldn’t in New York. Great take Mike. -Steve

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