Mets manager Terry Collins has no plans to bench Jay Bruce, he told reporters after Wednesday's loss to the Nationals.
Bruce says he doesn't need rest to get on track, despite batting just .192 with a .271 OBP, four home runs, four doubles and 11 RBI since the Mets acquired him from the Reds on Aug. 1.
"I just told him that I didn't need any more time off," Bruce said after the game. "I told [Collins] I completely understand that he has to put a lineup on the field that gives us the best chance to win, but I also feel like I'm one of the best nine options."
Though he has Michael Conforto, Alejandro De Aza, Brandon Nimmo, and Ty Kelly available on the bench, Collins suggested he doesn't have a comfortable replacement in the lineup for Bruce. Instead, he said he has trust in Bruce, who has just three hits during his last 26 at-bats.
"One of the things he's done throughout his entire career is played through things," Collins said after Wednesday's loss to the Nationals. "He's been an everyday guy. He's never been a guy who sits very much, so he has the ability to fight through it. So I said, 'Look, we're going to run you in there this week and see if you can get something started.'"
Bruce, 29, hit .265 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs before the trade. The Mets are 18-18 with Bruce in the lineup. He went 1 for 4 in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Washington Nationals, including a strikeout looking with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning.
There is a lot going on here, all in the middle of a playoff race. For starters, Bruce continues to look tight and overwhelmed. I was willing to cut him some slack in August, when he had to switch organizations for the first time in his career, go from a quiet Cincinnati to a loud New York, go from a big park to a smaller park, exist under the pressure of playoff race with a newborn baby in tow. So, I get it. That's a lot to handle. However, he's a grown man, he's a professional, and it's been six weeks. It's time to get it together.
The other thing to consider is, what impact is this having on Sandy Alderson's decision to keep Yoenis Cespedes? I believe part of the reason he traded for Bruce was because it provided a hedge against losing Cespedes this winter. The Mets have an affordable option that lets them retain Bruce for 2017. Or, they can cut him loose and use that money for Cespedes. Or, they could keep both. And, I have to think that what we're seeing from Bruce right now - which is eerily reminiscent of Jason Bay - has to be having an impact on Alderson's thinking about next year.