If the New York Mets want to get back into contention, two things need to happen: Jay Bruce needs to move from the outfield to first base, and current first baseman Lucas Duda needs to move out of Flushing.
The Mets have four outfielders – Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson – who should be in the lineup every day. Instead of rotating those four players, manager Terry Collins should just move Jay Bruce to first base.
Bruce, who many people believe should be representing the Mets in the All-Star Game, has been terrific this season. He’s been the team’s most consistent run producer and leads the team in multiple categories, including hits, home runs, and RBI.
He doesn’t have extensive experience at first base, but he did spend part of spring training at the position.
“Overall, I felt comfortable,” he told MLB.com’s Glenn Sattell after one exhibition appearance at first. “It’s definitely faster and it’s different, but it was fun. I just wanted to play baseball.”
Bruce has started nine games at first over his career, committing four errors and posting a .938 fielding percentage. Six of those games have come this year with the Mets.
With some practice in between games, he can definitely learn how to play the position well enough on the fly.
A Mets lineup featuring Bruce, Cespedes, Conforto, and Granderson is going to be more feared, and productive, than one that has Duda in it.
Cespedes hasn’t been great, but he’s known to go on second-half hot streaks. He’s also being paid a ton. He has to start. Conforto, the team’s only All-Star, has been very productive, hitting .285 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and a .405 on-base percentage.
Granderson had an extraordinary month of June. He batted .316 with eight home runs, 15 RBI, and 18 walks. He has given the Mets a spark again from the leadoff spot just like he did in 2015, when he helped lead the Mets to the World Series.
All three of those guys have to play. So does Bruce.
Moving Duda to the bench doesn’t make a lot of sense. He’s gone just 11-for-57 as a pinch-hitter, The 2011 season was his best off the bench, notching six hits in 17 at-bats.
According to ESNY’s own Christian Kouroupakis, the Mets have discussed a Duda trade with the Yankees.
— ChristianKouroupakis (@TheRealCkESNY) July 7, 2017
The Bronx Bombers have gotten very little production from the first base position this season. Duda could provide the pop that they need in the race for the AL East.
Since the Mets pitching staff has been terrible this season, supporting a 4.92 ERA, they could look to trade Duda for another starting pitcher. Whether that’s a deal with the Yankees or some other team, moving Duda makes sense, and then Bruce can play first.
Moving Jay Bruce to first and trading Lucas Duda will help Terry Collins put the best lineup out there, make it easier to manage the outfielders and help the Mets get back into contention.