New York Mets: Justifying The Jay Bruce Trade
Steve Mitchell, USATSI

After a disastrous start to his New York Mets career, Jay Bruce is finally helping his club push towards the postseason.

When Jay Bruce arrived in Queens on the first of August, he found himself in a new city, with new teammates, and lofty expectations. Gone was hitting next to all star Joey Votto. Gone were the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark. Lastly, gone was the nonexistent pressure of playing on a rebuilding franchise during the dog days of summer.

When Jay Bruce arrived in Queens, he was expected to produce because that’s what he’d done all season, and for the majority of his career. He found himself on a floundering ball club decimated by injuries, desperate to stay in the playoff hunt. While Yoenis Cespedes was sidelined on the disabled list, Terry Collins turned to his new star to anchor the middle of the lineup. From his arrival until September 23rd, Bruce flat out flopped.

The New York Mets had traded away their second basemen of the future (Dilson Herrera) for a player they thought would fix their offensive struggles, especially with runners in scoring position. What has looked like a disastrous front office decision might just be paying dividends at the season’s most pivotal point.

Despite Bruce’s unsightly .200/.277/.363 batting line, he’s found a rhythm over the last five games, going 7-15 with three long balls. No, he hasn’t blasted any walkoff bombs or recorded any game winning hits, but he’s added length to a lineup that’s been waiting for an additional threat.

Bruce’s job was simple: help get the New York Mets into the postseason. While his numbers with the Mets will finish far from productive, he has picked up his game as the season approaches it’s final burning embers.

If Bruce continues his strong play this weekend in Philadelphia, and the Mets lock up a postseason berth, then the trade for Herrera is justified. It doesn’t matter if Bruce failed to tear the cover off the ball; he provided productive at bats at the most critical stretch of the season.

If the Mets advance deep into October with Bruce playing a pivotal role, then his woeful regular season will be forgotten. Fans will beg for the Mets to pick up his $13 million dollar option for next season. The feeling of playoff baseball is addictive and if Bruce were to play a key role, no one is going to complain about who was traded.

The Bruce is indeed loose, and at just the right time.

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