The Mets are expecting to meet with Jay Bruce's agent at the winter meetings, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post, who says the two sides have only had preliminary discussions.
Sources recently told Newsday's Marc Carig that Bruce and the Mets were both interested in the possibility of a reunion.
Bruce 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.
In August, the Mets traded Bruce to the Indians, where he worked with new Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who had been Cleveland's pitching coach at the time.
"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 told reporters in September, when asked about reacquiring Bruce.
In October, team officials told the NY Post's Mike Puma that they believe Bruce is capable of being an everyday right fielder, as well as serve as a part-time or back up first base, where he played 91 games this past season for the Mets and Indians.
Bruce, 30, earned $13 million this past season.
In addition to Bruce, the Mets have reportedly also shown interest in free agents Carlos Santana and Eric Hosmer, as well as first basemen/outfielders Logan Morrison and Adam Lind.
I don't expect the Mets to offer Bruce more than a three-year deal worth around $13-15 million per season, which seems fair considering he knows the city, played well here and he creates options in their outfield and at first base. For instance, if Dominic Smith is injured or struggling, Bruce can jump on first base with Michael Conforto in right and Juan Lagares or Brandon Nimmo in center.
The thing is, if they do this, they're basically bringing back the same dynamic from 2017. I mean, why not sign Lucas Duda and Neil Walker while they're at it? I'm kidding, of course... My instinct is to do something different, though, and either commit to 1B prospect Dominic Smith or go with a different, full-time established first baseman and center field combination, i.e., Santana and Lagares, while keeping Conforto settled every day in right field.
In terms of there being mutual interest, I'm sure that's essentially true. However, while I don't doubt Bruce enjoyed himself in New York, I've heard the Mets are hardly his first choice to land with as a free agent.
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. If he's getting no bites, obviously he'll consider New York, especially if the Mets are desperate and still searching for a 1B/OF with power during late-winter. So, technically, that is 'mutual interest,' but I first expect both teams to pursue other options before seriously discussing a reunion.