While introducing the newly-signed Jay Bruce on Wednesday morning at Citi Field, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said there were a variety of factors that went in to bringing Bruce back.
"Strictly on the basis of performance, we're very happy to have him back," Alderson said, adding that Bruce's durability and versatility were huge things in his favor.
"Jay has proven to be versatile," Alderson said, noting that Bruce volunteered to play first base last year when injuries mounted. "Why we don't expect Jay to be a career first-baseman with the Mets," his ability to play there "gives us the confidence to move people around."
Alderson added that the fact that Bruce has had success in New York was "a factor," but one that can be overblown.
Bruce agreed with the notion that how he's performed in New York -- good and bad -- is a bit overblown, and said that while he didn't always anticipate returning, the Mets left the door open when he was traded. "From the very beginning," the team told him there could be a reunion.
"The Mets came in and were very direct," Bruce said about their pursuit of him in free agency. "There was a lot of clarity with what they came to me with. They wasted no time. ... showing that they wanted me to be back."
Bruce added that he feels the team has "unfinished business," and that the presence of manager Mickey Callaway (who was the pitching coach in Cleveland when Bruce was there last summer), made him "perk up a bit more" about a potential return.
The 30-year-old Bruce, who the Mets acquired from the Reds during the 2016 season and traded to the Indians last summer after they fell out of contention, agreed last week to a three-year deal worth $39 million.
He is expected to play right field, but may also get some time at first base.