The Mets traded for Jay Bruce at the 2016 trade deadline, dealt him at the 2017 deadline, signed him in January 2018 and traded him again last December.
In his words, "I wish it could have gone better, I really do."
Bruce, returning to New York as a member of the Mariners, who face the Yankees on Monday, opened up about his bumpy two and a half years with the Mets, which saw a 2016 playoff run, an underwhelming 2017 season and an injury-plagued 2018 campaign.
"We had some good times," Bruce said. "I got to come over there for the playoff run in '16. I was really happy with my play in '17 and really unfortunate that I got hurt last year. I enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed the people there. I enjoyed the organization. The fans were passionate -- I really appreciate about them."
Bruce had spent the first eight and a half years with the Reds before New York traded Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell for a midseason playoff push. Bruce hit .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in 50 games with the Mets that season, helping them reach the National League wild-card game.
One of the reasons the Mets acquired him to complement their outfield was because he still had a year of team control. He fared better in 2017, slashing .256/.321/.520 with 29 home runs and 75 RBIs, but in a lost season in which most of their rotation spent significant time on the disabled list, they dumped him, as well as several other players, near the trade deadline to the Rays in an effort to shed salary cap.
He returned to New York that offseason, signing a three-year, $39 million deal. Yet he struggled to a .223/.310/.370 line with nine home runs and 37 RBIs in 94 games, his season shortened due to various back, hip and foot injuries. He lost his regular place in right field and spent 21 games at first base.
This past offseason, he was one of the major leaguers who was traded to Seattle in the Edwin Diaz-Robinson Cano deal. He's split his time betwee first base and right field for the Mariners, hitting just .183/.259/.538 with a league-high 11 home runs in 29 games.
Back in New York, Bruce said he was grateful for his time with the Mets.
"It'll be a chapter that I remember a lot about my career," Bruce said. "I wish it could have gone better, but it is what it is. I still enjoyed my time there."