The Mets prefer to move Jay Bruce to Curtis Granderson as they look to trade from their outfield surplus, and they have internally declared Michael Conforto off limits, according to the New York Post’s Mike Puma
At least one Mets outfielder became expendable when the team re-signed Yoenis Cespedes last week. That the Mets prefer Granderson to Bruce should come as little surprise given that inquiring teams have expressed the same preference.
The two outfielders posted similar betting lines last season, with roughly 30 home runs and an OPS around .800, but Puma reports that the Mets like Granderson for his versatility in the lineup and in the field. Although both are best suited for a corner spot, Granderson is capable of playing center, while Bruce has consistently rated as a poor defender even in right. Granderson can also bat leadoff for a team lacking in speed, while also offering power in the middle-of-the-order. Puma points out that the team hasn’t ruled out trading both players but doesn’t consider it likely.
The Mets’ refusal to trade Conforto indicates they are sticking with the former 10th overall pick despite a rough 2016 season. After hitting nine home runs with an 130 OPS+ in 194 plate appearances down the stretch for the 2015 playoff team—and then hitting two long balls in the World Series—Conforto struggled to stay in the majors this past season. Beset by an ailing wrist, he hit .220 with a .725 OPS.
Granderson and Bruce will both be free agents after the 2017 season. Bruce is owed $13 million next season and Granderson is owed $15 million. Conforto will be under team control for another five seasons and is not arbitration-eligible until 2019.