By Chris Kubak
A week after it was first reported, the Mets made the move official: Jay Bruce is once again a New York Met. Five months after trading him to Cleveland for minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan, the lefty slugger is set to spend the next three years in Queens and will reportedly earn $39MM worth of guaranteed money along the way. For the investment, the Mets are banking on Bruce to provide some pop to a lineup that badly needs to produce if the team is to have any chance of competing for a Wild Card spot in 2018, and some protection in the batting order for the likes of Yoenis Cespesdes and Michael Conforto. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for the Mets, a team that has been hamstrung in their ability to spend over the last several years, and at least some sense for Bruce given the success he has experienced during his playing for the Metropolitans.
But consider this: given the current state of the market, has there ever been a free agent who’s so closely matched his value as Jay Bruce? When you look at the money that has been spent, along with the projected contracts for the players still unsigned, chances are you will be hard pressed to produce an alternate answer. I’m sure if you go back several seasons you could find one. So far this offseason, Bruce has a stranglehold on the title, and the reasons why become clearer when you look at the details.
Spanning an entire continent, lifelong fans Chris Kubak and Tom Baird take you on a magical, sabermetrically enhanced journey through Major League Baseball.