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.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Blue Jays have signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million.
Pearce, 33 had some health issues in 2016, but he hit .288/.374/.492 across 302 plate appearances when he was on the field and he mashes lefties in particular. Pearce is versatile as well, logging time at first base, second base, right field, left field, and DH in 2016 while splitting time between the Rays and Orioles.
Last week Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was arrested in South Korea for driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. That’s bad, but it turns out that it’s nothing new. The Yonhapnews Agency reports that Kang has been arrested for DUI three times since 2009:
Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul confirmed that it was Kang’s third DUI arrest, with the three strikes law resulting in the immediate revocation of his license. According to police, Kang had also been arrested for a DUI in August 2009 and May 2011. No personal injuries were reported in either case, though he’d caused property damage in the latter incident.
The report also notes that a companion of Kang initially claimed that he, and not Kang, was behind the wheel at the time of the accident which led to Kang’s arrest last week. It was later revealed by the car’s black box, however, that Kang was driving. So add in some obstruction of justice, whether it is charged or not, to the scene. Police are investigating that.
Between all of this and the fact that Kang is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in Chicago this past season, a pretty ugly portrait of the Pirates’ infielder is beginning to reveal itself.