Mets Hot Corner

Mets Sign Jay Bruce for $39 Million Over 3 Years

Mets Sign Jay Bruce for $39 Million Over 3 Years CBS Sports

The New York Mets have signed Jay Bruce to a three-year, $39 million contract, according to Ken Rosenthal. Deal is pending Bruce’s physical.

Jay Bruce joined the Mets originally in August of 2016 through a trade with the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets gave up pitching prospect Max Wotell and infielder Dilson Herrera in the deal. Bruce struggled when he first joined the team, but did finish strong in 2016.

His time with the Mets in 2017 fared much better. Bruce hit .256/.321/.520 with 29 home runs and a 120 wRC+ before the Mets dealt him to the contending Indians on August 7.

The Mets are bringing Bruce back to provide insurance for Michael Conforto who is still rehabbing from his shoulder injury last season. Until he’s back in the fold, the outfield looks to be made up of Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, and Bruce. When Conforto returns, either Lagares takes a backseat as the everyday centerfielder, or Bruce will become the everyday first baseman. This of course depends on how Dominic Smith handles the job at first until Conforto returns.

But is Jay Bruce worth the $39 million? David Schoenfield from ESPN tells us the sad truth:

First, the money is relatively low-risk and not ridiculous. It’s also not a bargain, as Bruce’s name recognition exceeds his actual value. While he has slugged 69 home runs the past two seasons — 10th-most in the majors — most of his value is wrapped up in those home runs as he was worth 0.6 WAR in 2016 and 2.9 in 2017. Due to his mediocre batting average and below-average walk rate, his on-base percentage over the past two seasons is .317, compared to a league-wide mark of .334 for right fielders. He’s a below-average baserunner and his defensive metrics have been all over the place, which is why his WAR was much higher in 2017.

The Mets now have depth in the outfield when you count Brandon Nimmo in the mix, and that’s not bad at all with Cespedes and Conforto not exactly being the poster boys for healthy ballplayers. Whether or not Bruce can live up to the money is yet to be seen, but if he can give the Mets two good seasons, that should meet expectations overall.

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