The Mets have told Jay Bruce that they expect him to be their everyday right fielder when the 2017 season begins, according to a report from Ken Davidoff. The team spent the past several weeks trying to trade the 29-year-old outfielder, and Davidoff notes that a trade would still be possible if the Mets found a match between now an Opening Day.
Acquired from the Reds at the trade deadline last season, Bruce struggled mightily in most of his time with the Mets. He hit just .219/.294/.391 with 8 home runs and an 81 wRC+ in 187 plate appearances with the team in August and September. Thanks to much better production in his time in Cincinnati, though, his season line was .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs and a 111 wRC+.
If Bruce does, indeed, begin the year as the Mets’ starting right fielder, it’ll be interesting to see what the team does with Michael Conforto. They’ve floated the notion that Bruce and Conforto will get some reps at first base in case Lucas Duda proves to be unhealthy coming off back surgery, but if that isn’t the case, perhaps Conforto would start the year in Triple-A to get regular playing time.