For the second straight year, the Mets have acquired an impact bat at the trading deadline, this time picking up OF Jay Bruce from the Reds in exchange for Brandon Nimmo and two other prospect. The deal is pending physicals. The Mets were rumored to be interested in Bruce this time last year, when the cost would have been Zack Wheeler, but instead traded for Yoenis Cespedes, who helped lead the club on a huge offensive surge which wound up in a World Series appearance.
With Cespedes not an option for center field and Juan Lagares on the disabled list, this means the Mets will run either Michael Conforto or Curtis Granderson in the middle of the outfield. Neither option is very compelling. But the opportunity to pick up a bat like Bruce’s was simply too much to let defensive worries get in the way.
After a poor 2014, Bruce has rebounded in a major way. Last year he posted 26 HR and 87 RBIs and through 97 games this year, he’s leading the NL with 80 RBIs and he has an .875 OPS. Bruce makes the lineup that much more lefty-heavy, but he’s done well against southpaws this year, posting a .778 OPS against LHP.
Perhaps the most welcome news for Mets fans is how Bruce has performed this year with runners on base. When he comes to bat with RISP, Bruce has a .360/.406/.719 line in 101 PA. Of the eight Mets with the most PA with RISP, only Cespedes and Neil Walker have a higher OPS than Bruce does a SLG mark in this split.
The Mets will owe Bruce roughly $5 million for the remainder of this year and they hold a $13 million option for 2017, which has a $1 million buyout. If Cespedes opts out of his contract, the Mets can pick up the option on Bruce, although that leaves the same CF dilemma mentioned earlier.
One thing about defense, though. The Mets’ starting pitchers get more grounders than fly outs. Here are the GB% for each:
It’s a different story for the relievers, though. Four of the seven relievers throw more flies than grounders. The worst is Erik Goeddel, who has a 29.6 GB%, compared to a 46.3 FB%
Click here to see last year’s article on potentially acquiring Bruce.