Once Yoenis Cespedes agreed to come back to Flushing, it became obvious that the Mets had a logjam in their outfield and that someone needed to be dealt. Jay Bruce was the obvious candidate to be traded. After all, there was question as to whether the Mets would even pick up his 2017 contract to begin with. Bruce struggled mightily after coming over from Cincinnati, and did not endear himself to the Mets faithful.
Of course, in order to move Bruce, Sandy Alderson needs to find a team willing to take him. With Jose Bautista returning to Toronto, one potential landing spot for Bruce may have evaporated.If the Mets do eventually find an interested party, it is likely that they will need to eat a portion of Bruce’s $13 million
If the Mets do eventually find an interested party, it is likely that they will need to eat a portion of Bruce’s $13 million salary to make a deal happen. This leads me to ponder another possibility: hold onto Jay Bruce and attempt to trade Lucas Duda.
Duda missed most of 2016 due to a back injury, so it’s not as if teams will be knocking down the Mets’ door to obtain him. However, teams looking for a left-handed hitting power bat may be willing to take a shot at Duda and his more reasonable salary of $7.25 million. Trading Duda would open up first base and give the Mets increased roster flexibility.
Basically, Terry Collins can mix things up and see who hits. Some options for Collins would include:
-Having both Bruce and Michael Conforto in the lineup, with one at first base and the other in right field. The Mets have expressed interest in working out Conforto at first in the Spring, while Bruce has limited experience there. Collins can have them both play some first base in the exhibition season and see who is more comfortable there.
-Handing David Wright a first baseman’s glove and letting him play some first base. Playing first base may put less of a strain on Wright’s back and help keep the Captain in the lineup. This would also open up third base for Jose Reyes. Terry Collins will need to do a lot of maneuvering in order to get Reyes regular at-bats, so this would give him another option to consider. Of course, Wright would have to prove that he can adequately handle the position.
-Giving more playing time to Wilmer Flores. Flores isn’t a gold glover by any stretch of the imagination, but he showed last year he can handle first base.
If Sandy and company are unable to find a taker for Bruce, trading Duda should be explored.