Although the Mets continue to shop right fielder Jay Bruce, their potential trading partners are dwindling rapidly. Earlier this week, the Blue Jays signed Jose Bautista and the Phillies signed Michael Saunders to fill their outfield vacancies. Now the Orioles, who have had trade talks with the Mets about Bruce, have officially agreed to a three-year deal with slugger Mark Trumbo.
The deal does not necessarily foreclose the possibility that the Mets could make a deal with the Orioles. Trumbo is best-suited to be a designated hitter—he cost the Orioles 7.7 runs over 95 games in the outfield in 2016, per Fangraphs—and Baltimore could still upgrade in the outfield. But Baltimore acquired Seth Smith this month to be their primary right fielder against right-handed starters, and the generally low-budget Orioles are unlikely to take on Bruce’s full $13 million salary after committing millions to Trumbo, as Sandy Alderson has insisted teams do in any trade, according to the New York Post’s Mike Puma.
Puma speculates that the Bruce sweepstakes are likely down to two options: the Rangers and Giants. Both teams showed interest in Bruce at last year’s trade deadline, when the Mets acquired him, and the Rangers spoke to Alderson about the right fielder at December’s Winter Meetings.
Bruce, who will be a free agent after the 2017 season, hit .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs last season, including a sluggish .219/.294/.391 over two months in New York.