Mets’ Jay Bruce headed to Indians in waiver trade, what it means
Jay Bruce is reportedly headed back to the state of Ohio, but not to Cincinnati.
The Mets have reportedly traded the right fielder to the Cleveland Indians in a waiver deal in exchange for Ryder Ryan, a 22-year-old minor league reliever. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick was the first to report the deal.
More importantly, Crasnick is also reporting that the Indians are taking on all of Bruce’s salary. The Yankees were rumored to have interest but wanted the Mets to eat some of his salary. The Yankees were also on Bruce’s limited no-trade list. The Mets were willing to include cash in deals for prospects, but considering Ryan is not a highly-ranked prospect, this deal appears to be more of a salary dump.
The Mets have now taken Lucas Duda, Addison Reed and Jay Bruce off the books, which equates to roughly $10 million.
Bruce was traded to the Mets from the Cincinnati Reds at the non-waiver trade deadline last season, in an effort to make a run towards a pennant. He struggled in New York initially, but came on strong in September. Although he wouldn’t place the blame on anyone or anything but him, he later opened up and said the unsettled nature of living out of so many hotels and on teammates’ couches took a toll on him.
But this season, those struggles disappeared. He hit .256 with 29 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .841 OPS.
Bruce has been a key figure in the Mets’ clubhouse this season, especially with captain David Wright away trying to rehab his back, neck and shoulder injuries. But he’s not only been a presence in the clubhouse, he’s been the Mets’ hottest hitter throughout most of the season as well as their best outfield defender.
The 22-year-old Ryan, a 30th-round pick in 2016 out of the University of North Carolina, is 3-5 with seven saves and a 4.50 ERA in 33 games for Class-A Lake County of the Midwest League this year.
Moving Bruce clears a path for Michael Conforto to play every day and potentially move to right field. While Conforto has been has solid in center, defensively he profiles more as a corner outfielder. Curtis Granderson, who has cleared waivers, is in a walk year and has not decided whether or not he will play again next year.
Juan Lagares is slated to come off the disabled list soon, possibly even this weekend, and Brandon Nimmo has been fighting for an outfield spot the last two seasons.