According to sources, the Mets are now asking for two prospects in return for Jay Bruce. These prospects likely wouldn’t even be considered blue chip prospects. At this point, the Mets may be better off keeping Bruce at the moment if that’s all they are getting offered in return. If the Mets were to trade him, they need to make sure his value is looked at as that of a 30 homer, 90 RBI kind of player.
I feel that unless the Mets get at least one blue chip prospect or a great relief pitcher, they shouldn’t be trading Bruce. There is no doubt that Bruce’s terrible stint with the Mets lowered his value, but he should still be worth these kinds of options. The Mets shouldn’t be trading him for the sake of getting rid of him.
With Jose Bautista reportedly re-signing with the Blue Jays, the free agent outfield market is thinning out right now. I feel that once Mark Trumbo and Michael Saunders sign, teams in need of outfield or DH help may start talking with the Mets about Jay Bruce. However, in order for the Mets to get something valuable in return for Bruce, they may have to be willing to take on some or most of Bruce’s $13 million owed to him in 2017. When negotiating with the Orioles during the winter meetings about the possibility of trading Bruce for Brad Brach, the Orioles reportedly wanted the Mets to take Bruce’s salary, to which the Mets refused to do.
At this point, the Mets should plan on having either Bruce or Michael Conforto take reps at first base during spring training. The Mets want Conforto in the lineup just about every day, and Bruce is keeping him from being the starting rightfielder. I honestly feel that if Bruce is still with the team by spring training, he should be prepared to be the starting first baseman. I’m not high on Duda due to his extreme streakiness. Bruce is probably the worst fielding outfielder than Conforto because Conforto looks to have a little more range and a much better and more accurate arm at this point. Additionally, with a young player like Conforto trying to recover from a huge sophomore slump in 2016, he needs to be more focused on his hitting than on learning a new position.
If Bruce plays well in spring training with the Mets, maybe the Mets could try to flip him for a good reliever or top prospect. The Mets could also keep Bruce and have him as their starting first baseman or rightfielder, though this may be unlikely considering Alderson’s desire to lower the team payroll by the start of the season. The Mets need to treat the idea of trading Jay Bruce in the same way as they viewed it during the winter meetings. They shouldn’t lower their asking price now simply because they haven’t got a deal done a month before spring training. With fewer quality free agent outfielders available, Alderson’s phone may start to ring a lot pretty soon from teams asking who he wants for Bruce. The Mets can’t be the one to blink first. If they have waited this long to trade Bruce, they can wait a little longer. They need to remember that they don’t necessarily have to trade Jay Bruce. They shouldn’t be trading him unless they get a player of equal value back in return, and nothing less.