I Didn't Know Anyone Was Allowed to Sign Right Now: Jay Bruce Returning to Mets - 3 Years, $39 Million

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I Didn’t Know Anyone Was Allowed to Sign Right Now: Jay Bruce Returning to Mets – 3 Years, $39 Million

Chicago Cubs

It’s January 10, and it looks like we finally have our fourth notable position player free agent signing. To date, only Carlos Santana, Yonder Alonso, and Zack Cozart have signed as free agent position players to multi-year deals.

Jay Bruce is heading back to the Mets:

Bruce, 30, who was traded to the Mets by the Reds during the 2016 season, and was traded from the Mets to the Indians during the 2017 season, was worth a total of 0.3 WAR from 2014 to 2016 before rebounding to 2.7 WAR last year. The down years were largely thanks to atrocious defensive metrics and serious problems at the plate that he seems to have corrected in the last two years.

In 2017, Bruce hit .254/.324/.508, which was good for a 118 wRC+. The Juiced Ball Era has been especially kind to him, as he’s seen his slugging spike from the .200ish range to the .250ish range in the last two years thanks largely to a HR/FB ratio that has been right around 19%. He’s a nice bat to have for the Mets, even if you’ll suffer on the defensive side for it.

As for that contract, it’s the exact median contract the crowd pegged at FanGraphs before the offseason, and it’s also virtually identical to the deal(s) Jon Heyman and his expert predicted. In other words, although Bruce had to wait, he got the deal he was expected to get. No signs of a dramatic market problem just yet.

Outside of ripple effects spanning far outward, there’s not a ton of Cubs-related impact here. The Mets won’t be getting Andrew McCutchen now, and the Giants won’t be getting Bruce, so that Pirates-Giants trade pairing looks all the more plausible now. The Mets will keep on trying to string together a winning season or two while they still have a good group of pitching, and it’s conceivable they could work their way into the Wild Card race. It’s much harder, however, to see them competing with the Nationals this year.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.