The Mets continue to be connected with free agents Jay Bruce and Addison Reed, according to a report from Newsday. Rumors about a reunion with Bruce have gone back as far as November, when Marc Carig indicated that the interest between the Mets and Bruce was mutual.
According to a source, Bruce developed a good relationship with Mets manager Mickey Callaway after being traded to the Indians last year, where Callaway was the pitching coach at the time. Bringing back Bruce makes a certain amount of sense from the Mets’ perspective, as well. Between his time with the Mets and the Indians last season, he hit .254/.324/.508 and with a 118 wRC+, 36 home runs, and 101 RBIs. The Mets could certainly use an above-average bat in the lineup.
And given Michael Conforto’s questionable status for Opening Day in 2018 and the uncertainty surrounding Dominic Smith’s ability to be an everyday major league player, Bruce’s ability to play corner outfield and first base is helpful. Upon Conforto’s return, however, the Mets would once again find themselves in the all-too-familiar situation of having to field a less than optimal defensive alignment to give their big bats sufficient playing time.
MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Jay Bruce will get a three-year, $39 million contract. However, early in the offseason, it was reported that Bruce was seeking much more—on the order of $80 to $90 million over five years. Given the slowness of the free agent market and particularly the collapse of the market for position players, it seems likely Bruce won’t get his initial asking price and his final contract may fall into a price range the Mets can afford.
Reed’s time as a New York Met was nothing short of spectacular overall. We recently detailed why signing Reed makes sense for the Mets, despite the not-so-impressive numbers he had with Boston after being traded to the Red Sox. A reunion with Reed would give the Mets an impressive amount of depth in their bullpen, giving Mickey Callaway plenty of options to turn to high-leverage situations and the ability to limit the innings of the injury-plagued starting rotation.
Given the fact that high-end relief pitchers seem to be just about the only thing there is high demand for in this slow offseason, it seems likely that Reed will command a big contract. MLB Trade Rumors forecasts a four-year, $36 million deal for the righty. This seems steep for the Mets, given what we’ve heard this offseason about payroll. But Newsday’s source said, “The team you see right now I don’t think is the team [they are] going to spring training with. I think [they will] surprise some people.’’