Question 8 - The Future of Jay Bruce as a Met

I was going to ask a question about Jose Reyes, but I figured I wouldn’t read a single reason to either keep this guy around after this season, or even play him anymore this year.

But… I am curious about your thoughts on Jay Bruce past this season.

He seems to be proving to all of us that he’s definitely the best player we currently have to play in right field. Every team carries five outfielders. In 2018, the Mets will carry Yoenes Cespedes, Michael Conforto, (most probably) Juan Lagares, and two more players. There won’t be any Curtis Granderson around anymore and Brandon Nimmo has done nothing to prove to anyone that he’s capable to start in CitiField.
Past that, there is no one in the pipeline that could play successful every day in the 2018 lineup.

So, the question is… do we QO Bruce? Do we offer him a two or three year deal? Or do we look elsewhere?

(this was prepared before Bruce's hitting spree in the past few games)

David Rubin says –

Jay Bruce is a player that many teams wanted prior to the 2016 season, and due to various circumstances (including a trade where one of the prospects failed his physical) he remained property of the Cincinnati Reds- until the Mets grabbed him right at the trade deadline on July 31st. Fans expected the second coming of Yoenis Cespedes- and instead, initially, got more Jason Bay (and what IS it about JB players- Bay, Bruce, Jeromy Burnitz???!!!) 

However, during the last week of the season, Bruce's bat came alive and hope was reborn again, especially since Yo's bat cooled off as the wear and tear of the season (and various minor injuries) took its toll.

Then came the off-season, aka "the time when no one wanted a $13 million dollar slugger prone to great streakiness" and no one was willing to acquire him unless the Mets agreed to pay the majority of his salary AND agreed to receiving no more than a used up bullpen arm in exchange. Yeah, I couldn't figure it out either, why we'd want to give away a bat that, over the prior 5 years, was one of the premiere rightfielders in the NL and had hit 30+ homers 4 out of the prior 6 seasons. He's a streaky hitter and an average defender, but overall a very solid ballplayer and was beloved by his teammates in Ohio. Why were we giving him away for nothing, then? Well, upon coming to New York, he was overwhelmed by being on a new team for the first time, while his wife and not-yet-three month old first child were hundreds of miles away. He was living in a hotel and had a rough acclimation, but his bat came around when we needed it, and therefore the dilemma of 2017 was born- how do we play 6 outfielders in a plot of grass built for three? Nimmo- great prospect whose status had diminished some but who was still a potential big leaguer; Yo, the hottest NL hitter on 2 legs, the foundation of the offense who just signed a HUGE 4 year contract; the phenom hitter named Conforto, whom Terry just wouldn't allow into the line-up vs lefties but who posseses a once-in-10-years kid of bat; the oft-injured great field, some hit CFer named Juan; the ole guy who bats lead-off and hits nearly as many homers as runs driven in but is too old to play center, unless he's not, whom those wacky kids call "the Grandy-man;" and the prior-mentioned Bruce. Other teams wanted Grandy, some wanted Bruce, all wanted Conforto (of course, but that was a non-starter) and the best trade of all was the one that happened which was NO trade. Now, with Legares healthy and Conforto on fire and Bruce on fire and Yo on fire and Grandy moved to clean-up (at times) and Nimmo remaining in Vegas, a seeming problem is now paying huge dividends for the first New York Mets.

What's that? Next year you say? Well, Nimmo will try to prove his worth yet again in AAA, where the team may find his value may be in what he brings in return, sad to say. Grandy is a free agent, and most likely won't be brought back, unless he's willing to work for peanuts, so we know it's not going to happen. That brings us to Bruce- again- and I'm about to say something that most fans would've burned me on the stake for uttering late last season- the New York Mets should bring back Jay Bruce on a 3-year deal after this season. There- I SAID IT!!! Bruce is not the type of player who will pay dividends into his mid-30's, but for right now, at age 30 and in good shape, the streaky hitter and decent outfielder is a solid addition to a team that's become reliant on the home run. BUT- there's one big caveat to my proposal- the Mets need to prove that Mr. Conforto can man centerfield before signing Bruce. If he can't become a solid CFer, then there's no point to bring back Bruce because the entire focus for the offseason should be bringing in a centerfielder who can offer great defense and, preferably, hit at the top of the line-up. I won't waste time theorizing on who that might be (and ex-Mets GM Steve Phillips recently propsed trading Bruce to Toronto for their own injured 24 year old CF), but I will say simply that we already know what Yo & Bruce have to offer, we know what Conforto will offer if given the chance, and wouldn't it be great if those 3 can man the grass at Citifield for the next 3 years together?  I think so- what about you????

Thomas Brennan says

           I would be willing to re-sign Bruce to a multi- year deal if he proves the first dozen games in 2017 are the real Jay Bruce.  But let's see if Nimmo explodes this year first (when the hack is Mr. WBC due back anyway?).  I do like 200+ home run seasons from my team, that I can tell you, that I can tell you.  Bruce helps us do that.

Reese Kaplan says –

         Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson are virtual clones -- streaky left handed hitters who can carry a team when hot and kill a team when cold. Going forward I would like to see the team become more adept at getting on base regularly and improving the offense with men in scoring position.  Towards that end Dom Smith should help and a guy like Brandon Nimmo might as well.  If you indeed get the kind of power you expect from Cespedes and Conforto you can live with high average, low strikeout hitters around them.

This all-or-nothing offense has sputtered in two straight seasons when it was needed most.  I don't know about you, if something doesn't work you try going in another direction. That being said, if Bruce has a big year I'd most definitely offer the QO as it would represent a slight increase over what he's getting now -- $13 million.  You either keep him or you get the draft pick.  That was different than the $10 million to $17.2 million gamble on Neil Walker (with a bad back, no less).

The reason I'd advocate keeping him over Duda is health.  Furthermore, Duda's jump with a QO would be from $7 million to $17.2 million.  That is a gamble you would lose.

Gary McDonald says –

           Not a Jay Bruce fan .  I was against the trade from the beginning, I was against picking up the option and I will remain consistent in that I have no interest in extending him or qualifying him.    The Mets are too obsessed with power hitters.  They need more guys who get hits in keys spots and drive in runs. Less strike out guys, more contact hitters.  

Peter Hyatt says 

           I wonder if Conforto is the best natural bat since young David Wright...

At 24, he is not playing regularly.  I believe Alderson has more say on the line up than Collins (in listening to them both).  Alderson plays contracts.  I saw yesterday that our batting average is much lower against righty pitchers, yet Conforto sits.  

Richard Herr says - 

           Since we are your normal, everyday, red-blooded Mets  fans, we are all going to say,  "Yeah, let's keep this guy around." The reason we say that is because Jay Bruce is hot at the moment. Then, once more as fans, we'll be screaming to ship his butt out of town the moment he cools off. What's the real value here?

I'm getting awfully tired of all of these guys on the Mets who lumber up to the left side of the plate and do their best to try to hit home runs. Way more often than not, they strike out. A number of them are going to cycle out of the Mets to free agency after this year. The contracts of Duda, Granderson, and Bruce are up, and they are eligible for free agency. I think Granderson should go due to his age. We have to look at Duda relative to two things: his performance and health, and the development of Dom Smith. I think it wouldn't hurt to offer Bruce the QO.  I think the major thing I see about Bruce as opposed to the other two is that he's had a more consistent record with RBIs. In the past six years there's only been once when he was below 80 RBIs for a season. Duda has topped that number once, and Grandy, since he's moved crosstown hasn't done it. I also notice that Bruce has come up in RISP situations and delivered the runs by hitting a single to the opposite field. (More on that to follow)

I'm getting frustrated watching the Mets continually send up these beefy guys who score the majority of their runs by hitting home runs. Or not. Everybody's counting out people like Brandon Nimmo, T.J. Rivera, and Gavin Cecchini because "they've got to improve their power numbers." How about lean, mean guys who can make it down a base line in less than five minutes and deliver singles in RISP situations? Those guys finished one, two, and three in average in the PCL last year. Yeah, I know, Vegas, baby. Wanna take 20 points off their averages? Rivera and Nimmo are still 1 and 2.

But give Bruce the QO. If he accepts it, he does hit 30 HRs in a season. He could still be traded away after that (with his consent before 6/15).


Gary Seagren said...

Could we PLEASE get a leadoff hitter. Surely that would help although not sure who will be available at year's end but with the $$$ saved from the Grandy, Walker and Duda if Bruce is kept should get us a solid leadoff hitter and shore up the bullpen. The problem is were losing ground to the Cubs, Nats, Marlins and the Braves are building with good young talent also. So Mack with the news YC is hurt and coming off a really bad week and looking at a 3 game set with the Nats how's it looking 4 u?

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

Tough week.

I really would regroup now. It is early in the season and the starters, plus an occasional home run, seems to be able to keep this team playing .500 ball.

I would rest Cespedes and give him the time a hammy needs to heal.

I would make my starting outfield Bruce, Granderson, and Conforto... Lagares as OF-5.

I would bring up TJ Rivera (on Monday) and let him and Flores split their time on 1B

I would release Jose Reyes.

And I would immediately promote Amed Rosario, put him on SS (move Cabrera to 3B) and bat him leadoff

But what do I know?

Gary Seagren said...

Mack here's the problem...it makes to much sense and when was the last time they used the DL to their advantage? I guess where I was really going on my last post was that we're an older, slow plodding team reliant on the long ball and the Greatest Starting staff in the history of baseball or so we were told but that hasn't quite worked out that way and because were supposed to not only be in the World Series but also win it we need EVERYTHING to go right and how often does that happen. (twice in 54 years)

Gary Seagren said...

One more thing I was thinking about was how ironic that both Wright and Reyes only a few years ago were thought to be possibly HOF bound only to pretty much crash and burn long before their careers should have slowed down is so reminiscent of Darryl and Doc's career path's (although for different reasons) over 30 years ago. Very Sad

Thomas Brennan said...

Bruce for MVP

bob gregory said...

I caution not to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

So far Bruce is following the same path he began last year on. Starting out on a hot streak.
Bruce has a history of being a streaky hitter.

My game plan would be the same as it was this off season... ride his hot bat hoping it raises his value. Use him as a trade chip.
Focus on adding more consistent hitters onto the major league roster. Higher batting averages. Better situational hitting.

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

another thing... Mets 2B and SS - -7 Defensive Runs Saved (worst in NL)

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