Wednesday night around 9 p.m. it was reported that the Mets and Jay Bruce had come to an agreement on a three year 39 million dollar contract, the deal was reported by ESPN reporter, Jerry Crasnick and was confirmed by many others.
The deal was something that came out of nowhere but all of baseball was waiting for a move to be made during this extremely slow moving Offseason. Bruce has been a consistent power bat for his entire career and has been an above average defensive outfielder as well.
The deal came as a bit of a surprise and not just because nobody had really been reporting on any traction up until Crasnick started to report on Bruce at 9 last night. It seemed as if he was destined to go to the San Francisco Giants because both sides had openly stated their interest in making a deal but the Mets moved in and brought him back to the Big Apple.
The unreported team obviously ended up being the New York Mets, a move that the Mets fan base definitely approves of. Bruce now provides the Mets with the middle of the order power bat and fills the void of the OF/1B player the Mets had been looking for.
Yes, Bruce coming back is huge, but he is not enough. The Mets still have moves they have to make in order to form a playoff contending team, so now the question is, what’s next?
The holes that the Mets have left are at 2nd/3rd, Catcher, the Bullpen, and the starting rotation. Of those holes, the only legitimate need this team has is at 2nd/3rd base, the others are positions that they could use improvements at but they can survive without new players brought into the organization.
With that being said the Mets will now start to look for someone to fill the void at either Second or Third Base. The best players available in the Free Agency pool that can fill the spot are Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Nunez, Todd Frazier, and Howie Kendrick. Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates is available via trade as well
Now that the Mets brought in Bruce to improve the middle of the order it may be best for the Mets to get someone who can bat at the top of the lineup in the one or two hole so they can move Conforto down in the lineup, and someone who can provide some speed at the same time. If the Mets decide to look at it that way the three guys that can do that are Harrison, Nunez, and Kendrick.
When looking at Josh Harrison, Eduardo Nunez, and Howie Kendrick they bring similar skillsets to the table; all three have the ability to play multiple positions, they are stolen base threats, and they all are good hitters. If you were to rate them in order from best player to worst player it would most likely be Harrison-> Nunez->Kendrick.
Harrison is easily the best player because he is simply better in every category than both Kendrick and Nunez at this point. Nunez and Kendrick are similar but Nunez is a bit more versatile, younger, and a cheaper option.
Harrison is the best option of the three but they would have to trade for him and the Mets may not have enough talent in the minors that they could send to Pittsburgh to acquire him if that is the case Nunez is a must. Eduardo Nunez has been a very good hitter the past three seasons with a bit of pop in his bat and he could easily be the leadoff hitter for the Mets. To obtain his services a contract of 2-3 years in length with an average salary of 10/11 million could get him on board
The Mets may think that the middle of the order is not strong enough at this point with Bruce and Cespedes being the only big bats considering Conforto may need to be the leadoff hitter for this team. If that is the belief the Mets Front Office has then Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier are the guys they will be looking at.
Both guys are Third Basemen with power bats that would easily make the middle of the Mets order a lot stronger in the power department. Of the two I think Moustakas is the only guy that makes sense, Frazier is simply not good enough to trust on a regular basis. Frazier and Moustakas are risky signings because they don’t have a proven track record.
Moustakas has had two good years in his 7 year career, they were 2015 and 2017 with an injury-plagued 2016 in the middle. Frazier hasn’t had a good year since 2015 plus he has hit .225 and .213 in the two seasons since then. “Moose” and “Toddfather” are guys that can give you power and a bat to drive in runs while also being above-average defenders in the hot corner so they do have positives.
The reason Moustakas is the better player is that he will be only 29 next season and has gotten better with age while Frazier will be 32 and has struggled since leaving the small ballpark in Cincinnati. To acquire Frazier a two year 21 million dollar deal could bring him aboard, as for Moose it a four year 60-65 million dollar deal might be necessary.
If you ask me the latter option is the way to go if you are picking between those two but we are dealing with the cheapest big market team in the world, so the Wilpons may look at it differently.
The important thing to note is that the Mets actually have very solid options to fill their 2nd/3rd base hole so they don’t have to pick from the bottom of the barrel. Once they solve this issue then they can look at the other positions of need to identify where they should spend the last of their Free Agency money.