With the Mets' offense in a funk, they went looking for some power from outside the organization. It appears they have landed their man in right fielder Jay Bruce from the Reds. Initial reports had the Mets sending the Reds Brandon Nimmo and two others, but that deal fell through due to medical concerns with one of the Mets' lower-level prospects. The two sides continued to work and ended up settling on a deal that sends Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell.
Bruce can be a rental or be with the Mets through next season. It'll be their choice, as he has a $13 million team option for 2017.
Bruce, 29, is hitting .265/.316/.559 (128 OPS+) with 22 doubles, six triples, 25 homers and an NL-best 80 RBI so far this season. He made his third All-Star team after two pretty terrible years. Bruce rates out pretty badly in advanced defensive metrics and doesn't really pass the eye test most of the time, either. The Mets, though, just want the bat.
Have the Mets overreacted to a certain split that is far too overvalued by the masses? The Mets have been utterly dreadful this season with runners in scoring position, hitting .206/.282/.324. The two outs and runners in scoring position line? Even worse: .172/.276/.285. If one has been watching them with any regularity, it's easy to remember several cases of leaving the bases loaded.
Bruce so far this season is hitting .360/.406/.719 with runners in scoring position. This isn't surprising, given his RBI total while playing for a bad team.
Of course, does this come at the expense of defense? As noted, Bruce is a poor defender. Curtis Granderson is already playing right field. Yoenis Cespedes can play center, but not very well. He's better suited in left. Maybe Michael Conforto stays in center, but the hunch is this move forces him -- and not Granderson -- to the bench. Even still, Conforto should also be only a corner outfielder.
On the Reds side, Herrera is a nice get for two months of someone during a rebuild. The Reds surely wouldn't have exercised their option on Bruce at the end of the season and now have the 22-year-old infielder. He's only hit .215/.308/.383 in 169 plate appearances at the big-league level, but he's awfully young and considered a very talented prospect. In 86 Triple-A games this season, he's hitting .276/.327/.462 with 24 doubles, 13 homers and 55 RBI.
Wotell is a left-handed pitcher who is only 19 years old. He's in Rookie Ball this season, where he's 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings. He was the Mets' third-round pick last year out of high school, so there's some upside here that could take several years to see.