The Mets have acquired OF Jay Bruce from the Reds for IF Dilson Herrera and LHP Max Wotell, Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced to reporters before Monday's game.
"The focus was offense," he said of his work before the day's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. "So, we worked hard to get something done in that regard ... We always feel that, at the trade deadline, we need to do everything we can to improve the team if they're in position to compete."
Bruce, 29, is hitting .265 with a .316 OBP, 25 HR and 80 RBI in 97 games this season.
He is due roughly $5 million the rest of this season with a $13 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2017.
"We would not have done the deal without the extra year of control," Alderson said. "We were not looking for a rental player ... We're happy we have him for this season and we're happy we have them for next season."
Herrera, 22, was hitting .276 with a .327 OBP and .462 SLG with 13 HR and 55 RBI this season for Triple-A Las Vegas. He was highly touted after being acquired in 2013 with Vic Black from the Pirates for John Buck and Marlon Byrd.
Wotell, 19, has a 3.94 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, while striking out 31 batters in 29 2/3 innings for Rookie level Kingsport this season. He was drafted last season in the third round.
The Rangers, Indians, Mariners, Giants, Astros, Tigers and Dodgers had all reportedly shown interest in Bruce during the last few days.
The Mets will be better with Bruce batting behind Yoenis Cespedes than without him, that is obvious. In that sense, it's a good acquisition. And, between Bruce, Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, Terry Collins should be able to rotate off days, play to match ups, and get good production from his outfield every game. How they play defense? Who knows? It's not going to be pretty. Frankly, depending on who is where, they could collectively be passable to the worst ever. Choose wisely, TC.
In terms of next season, I think this acquisition also acts as a hedge on possibly losing Cespedes. There is no way Yo doesn't opt out of his deal. If he makes himself a free agent, he'll be the best available hitter on the free agent market, with a handful of big-spending teams having money and space, so he'll do better than the two years he'll have left on his contract with the Mets. By getting Bruce, the Mets have another hitter in the mix next season, should Cespedes leave. And, if Yo stays, or re-signs, the Mets can keep them all, try to trade Granderson, look to trade Bruce or buy out his contract, make him a free agent, make a qualifying offer and get a draft when he leaves. The point is, Bruce gives Alderson options, now and next season.
This trade is a bit of a head-scratcher because the Mets already have three left-handed corner outfielders (four if you count Alejandro De Aza) and bigger question marks on the infield.
Bruce's power is legit, though a spike this season compared to prior years may not be sustainable. His biggest selling point is that he leads the league in RBI, but how will that hold up when he isn't batting behind Joey Votto? His splits with runners in scoring position are excellent in 2016, but in 2015 they were as bad as could be. Ultimately, is he the same player he was in 2014-15, when he was essentially replacement-level? Or, has he made some meaningful change to his approach that can sustain this year's major jump in batting average and power? The Mets clearly believe he's the latter and - with another year of team control - they'll have ample opportunity to find out.