Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Mets turn their attention toward acquiring a bat

Mets turn their attention toward acquiring a bat

Free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce has reached agreement on a three-year, $39 million contract with the New York Mets, two baseball sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Bruce gives the Mets some insurance in the outfield and in the lineup as Michael Conforto recovers from surgery to fix a torn capsule in his left shoulder.

Despite playing only 103 games with the Mets last season, Bruce led the team with 29 home runs.

The Mets made it clear this winter they were seeking an outfielder who could play first if needed, and Bruce started 10 games there last season for NY.

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Bruce is a.249 career hitter with 277 homers and 838 RBIs in 10 big league seasons. First baseman Carlos Santana signed with Philadelphia for $60 million over three years, and closer Wade Davis got $52 million over three years from Colorado.

While robust for relievers, the free agent market this winter has been shockingly slow for other players.

Bruce is familiar with new Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who was the pitching coach with the Indians last season.

Since late last season, the Mets had signaled that their payroll would go down from their team-record $155 million on opening day of the 2017 season.

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Coming from the Reds at the 2016 trade deadline, the Mets picked up the $13 million option on Bruce's contract as insurance against Yoenis Cespedes opting out of his contract in November 2016. All together Bruce has played in five postseason series. The average annual value of Bruce's deal is $13 million, which would have swallowed up almost the entire pool of money the Giants have left to add to their payroll this offseason.

The Indians acquired Bruce from the Mets on August 9, one day after left fielder Michael Brantley suffered a sprained left ankle, for Lake County Captains relief pitcher Ryder Ryan.

After the trade, Bruce hit.248 with 7 HR and 26 RBI in 43 regular season games.

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