ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are among several teams making a push for Mets outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mets signed free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on Tuesday afternoon, giving them four starting-caliber outfielders for three positions. Bruce, no surprise, is expected to be the odd man out.
Bruce, 29, had a terrific start to the 2016 season, smacking 25 homers with 80 RBI and an .875 OPS in 402 plate appearances with the Reds. After the Mets acquired him, however, his production tanked. In 187 PA with his new team, Bruce hit only eight homers with 19 RBI and a .685 OPS. Bruce has been an above-average hitter for much of his nine-year career and he’s still young enough to expect him to return to his previous form. The veteran is owed $13 million for the 2017 season.
The Blue Jays need some help in the corner outfield with outfielder Jose Bautista still in free agency. Melvin Upton, Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera are their current top options in left and right field. Needless to say, Bruce would be an upgrade.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.