In the NY Post, Mike Puma explains why he expects the Mets to show interest in free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce, and free-agent first basemen Logan Morrison and Adam Lind.
According to Puma, Mets officials believe Bruce could again play right field, but also serve 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.
Morrison, 30, has spent his career splitting time between first base and outfield, though he has often served as the designated hitter the last three years since being traded to the American League. He hit 38 home runs and 22 doubles this past season in Tampa.
Lind, 34, played first base and the outfield for the Nationals this past season. Following three above-average years in Toronto and Milwaukee, Lind struggled with the Mariners in 2016. He rebounded in 2017, though, hitting .303 with a .362 OBP, 14 home runs, 14 doubles and getting equal time in the outfield and first base.
J.D. Martinez is reportedly asking for a $200 million deal. He is 30 years old. Yoenis Cespedes started out last winter asking for $200 million, too. It's' early-November. This is to be expected. It's a tradition. The point is, just like Cespedes got half of what he wanted, I expect Bruce and Martinez will get significantly less than they're seeking, as well.
That said, as it pertains to the Mets, giving Bruce a three-year deal worth around $13-15 million per season is fair and probably smart 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.
Jul 28, 2017; Bruce (19) catches a line drive at Safeco Field. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The thing is, if they do this, they're basically bringing back the same dynamic they had in 2017. Granted, it worked out for them in 2016 when winning 87 games and getting to the Wild Card. But, I'd prefer they do something different here and either commit to Smith or go with a legit first baseman and center field combination, while keeping Conforto settled every day in right field.
This is Mickey Callaway's first go as a manager... and he's doing it in the National League. I'm sure he's smart enough to handle juggling his lineup, rotating players, doing double-switches and thinking on his feet, but why put him in that position? The players are available to create a more stable, consistent lineup. I hope the Mets go this path. Although, seeing that each of Puma's above suggestions play both first base and outfield, my hunch is Alderson may be aiming for a more versatile approach...