NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Barring a miracle, the Mets are going nowhere this season.
The front office seems to know it, as general manager Sandy Alderson has said in recent days that the team would need to do something extraordinary during its current homestand to convince him not to be a seller by the trade deadline.
Yet Alderson still might do something risky.
He may roll the dice over the final few months of the season with pending free agent Jay Bruce and then take his chances trying to re-sign the slugger this winter.
In other words, the Mets might be content to lose the veteran outfielder for nothing.
And he can’t believe it.
“If they have the chance to make their organization better by trading me, they would be crazy not to do it,” Bruce told the Daily News on Wednesday. “I know that they have to look out for their future here. I expect they will do that if they have the chance. I know what can happen.”
Keeping Bruce is almost certainly not Alderson’s first choice, but right now, according to several reports, there simply isn’t much of a market for the 30-year-old outfielder. That seems odd considering he is enjoying a bounce-back season with the Mets following a less-than-memorable stint with the club after he was acquired prior to last season’s trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds.
The Mets have been rewarded for picking up Bruce’s $13 million option, as he’s hitting .266 with 24 home runs and 63 RBIs. One would think those types of numbers would get the attention of a handful of contending teams. Yet, it appears the interest in him league-wide with less than two weeks to go before the July 31 deadline is lukewarm at best.
If the Mets do find interested suitors, they would still have to speak to Bruce because he has an eight-team limited no-trade clause in his contract. Bruce told the Daily News he has yet to be approached.
New York (42-50), which many predicted would challenge for at the very least a playoff spot in 2017, is 11 1/2 games out of the second wild card.
“To say we underachieved this season is an understatement,” Bruce said. “We had really high expectations and we fell short. We know that and it’s disappointing.”
With executives around the league aware of Bruce’s situation, they could simply be biding their time before trying to pry the veteran slugger from the Mets at a bargain rate. Bruce said while he wouldn’t rule out talking to New York during the offseason, it’s not his first priority at this point.
“I’ve played a long time to get to free agency for the first time,” Bruce said. “I am excited to see what happens with that. I’ve enjoyed it here, but we’ll see what happens.”