Up until 2016, it felt like once a year the Mets flirted with the idea of somehow getting Jay Bruce to suit up in Queens. The playoff run made that fantasy, someone’s fantasy, a reality as Jay Bruce was brought over to solidify an ailing lineup in a wild card run. Then during the following off season there were calls to trade Bruce, keep Bruce, blame Bruce for all the existential woes of the Mets team. Honestly I can’t even recall who was calling for what around Bruce.
Bruce went on to have a Jay Bruce 2017, hitting bombs. But homers last year were more common than differing opinions on how the Mets should construct a lineup so Jay Bruce was traded for Ryder Ryan, a relief prospect.
Going into this season, the Mets needed a center fielder and either a second basemen or a third basemen. The first two moves the Mets made were to sign Bruce to play corner outfield and a little first base, and then the Mets signed a first basemen. It was quite a Mets move. Keeping with Mets tradition, this led to a lampooning of Bruce, again. Bruce is a good value for the price the Mets got him at, but just didn’t quite fit the need on paper.
Looking at Bruce’s projections, the computers see Bruce taking a slight step back next year. This isn’t too surprising considering Bruce’s age and how much better his 2017 was over it’s original projection. I’m not sure how many people projected Bruce hitting 36 homers and getting on base at a .324 clip last year, but he did.
While I do expect him to slide, I don’t expect him to slide that much. His season will also depend on all of Frazier, Conforto and Cespedes. If it’s Bruce and the 2017 September Mets, there’s not much reason to go after Bruce in the strike zone.
I like Bruce and I hope he does well. I’m looking forward to seeing him at the plate next year despite my skepticism when he was signed over a center fielder this off-season.