Indians OF Jay Bruce hit a two-run home run, had three RBI and scored twice Thursday night during Cleveland's 4-0 win against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS.
The Mets traded Bruce and the $3.7 million remaining on his contract to the Indians in early August for 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Ryder Ryan.
"I couldn't have fallen into a better situation," Bruce said after Thursday's win. "Obviously, when you get traded and you're in trade rumors, it's usually to a contender or a team that's contending at the moment. For whatever reason, I ended up here."
In 153 games with New York, Bruce hit 37 home runs with 25 doubles and 95 RBI. He hit .480 during the final eight games last September as the Mets went 5-3 to secure a Wild Card spot.
Oct 5, 2017; Bruce celebrates with Encarnacion at Progressive Field. Credit: Richard-USA TODAY Sports
He told MLB.com in late-August that he will certainly consider re-signing with the Mets this winter, despite being traded by Sandy Alderson this past summer.
"From our standpoint, we had a great relationship, he was productive in New York and we'll keep the lines of communication open once its appropriate, as we will with most free agents," Mets GM Sandy Alderson added, when asked about reacquiring Bruce.
Bruce enjoyed his time playing for Terry Collins, but he is not surprised to see the Mets looking for new leadership, he told reporters Wednesday in Cleveland.
"I don't think it was hard to see," Bruce explained, according to Newsday. "I think that a lot of times in sports they feel like a shakeup needs to happen. The old saying is you can't fire 25 guys, so a lot of times managerial changes happen. I wish Terry the best in whatever he does next."
Bruce also said he was disappointed to see anonymous teammates being critical of Collins.
Oct. 6, 2017: Interestingly, Cleveland's ALDS opponent, the Yankees, were the only other team to express legit interest in acquiring Bruce from the Mets this past summer. Brian Cashman's best offer, though, according to reports, would have sent two mid-level prospects to the Mets, who he wanted to pick up all of Bruce's remaining money.
The Indians, however, offered to pay all of Bruce's remaining contract, while parting with just Ryan, who was not considered a Top 30 prospect. As a result, during Thursday's game, after Bruce hit his home run, the Indians took a nice shot at Cashman on Twitter, writing...
This is awesome. The person running that social media account has guts.I noticed Mets fans on Twitter thinking this was a jab at the Mets, but it's obviously 100 percent directed at the Yankees, who the Indians were literally playing at that moment in time.
In regards to Bruce returning to the Mets this spring, I don't doubt he enjoyed himself in New York, especially toward the end of last season. But, from what I've heard, the Mets are hardly his first choice as a home in free agency. Based on what he was telling people last summer, I'd bet he's hoping to ink a deal with a team in Texas or California. Or, maybe he'll now want to return to Cleveland.
Of course, if he's getting no bites, obviously he'll consider New York -- especially if the Mets are desperate and still searching for a bat during late-winter. But, at least at first, I expect both sides will pursue other options before seriously discussing a reunion.