Jay Bruce has dusted his first base glove off recently to take reps before games, and the Mets will reportedly be using him there in at least one game this week, reports Mike Puma of the NY Post.
Bruce said before the season that he didn't expect to get time at first base unless it was an emergency, but GM Sandy Alderson said the team would be comfortable using Bruce there on a near-everyday basis if needed.
Still, Bruce is not thrilled with the prospect of playing first base. But he said last week that he's an "employee" and will do whatever the team asks of him. He also understands the reasoning behind it.
"I don't make those decisions, but looking at it on a piece of paper, it makes sense," Bruce told Puma. "It's a way to keep all of our bats in the lineup, but we'll see. They have a lot of stuff they have to do as far as decisions they have to make."
Manager Mickey Callaway sees Bruce's move to first as something he should expect down the road.
"I think he's aware at some point in his career that's probably where he's going to end up," Callaway said. "That's the natural progression I think for a guy like him. I don't know that's going to be consistently this year but I think that he's aware."
Bruce has only played 15 games at first base during his career, with 11 coming last season. However, the struggles of Adrian Gonzalez -- who is hitting .200/.296/.317 with two HR in 20 games (60 at-bats) -- along with the excellent play of Brandon Nimmo has forced the Mets' hand.
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Gonzalez isn't hitting for average, he isn't getting on base at a decent clip, and he isn't hitting for power. His .317 slugging percentage is putrid. And him playing regularly at this point is untenable.
I was of the opinion that Gonzalez shouldn't have been signed in the first place, but at least the Mets are seemingly willing to be proactive at first base due to his struggles -- and due to Nimmo's tremendous production.
Nimmo is hitting .286/.487/.571 in 17 games (28 at-bats) after a strong showing (.260/.379/.418) in 2017. Inserting his bat and removing Gonzalez should give the Mets a boost.
The best Mets team has Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Bruce, and Nimmo in the lineup on a regular basis. And the only way to achieve that is by moving Bruce to first base, where he really should be playing semi-regularly -- not sporadically. A platoon of Bruce and WIlmer Flores there would make sense.
What the above would mean for Gonzalez remains to be seen, but it would seem that having an unproductive, one-dimensional player on the bench would do more harm than good.