Marc Carig of Newsday reports that the Phillies came closest to acquiring Mets outfielder Jay Bruce during the offseason. Though the Phillies are still in a rebuilding phase, the club was on the hunt for veteran outfielders on short-term contracts, which explains why the club sought Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders. It is unclear why the Phillies came up short, but the Mets reportedly wanted two prospects in return. The Phillies could’ve been turned off by that and/or Bruce’s $13 million salary.
Bruce, 30, has terrorized the Phillies to start the 2017 season. Overall, he’s hitting .309/.387/.673 with six home runs and 14 RBI in 62 plate appearances. Four of those home runs and 11 of those RBI have come in his 21 PA against the Phillies. And two of those home runs and five of those RBI came on Wednesday night, when he provided all of the Mets’ offense in a 5-4 win over the Phillies.
Bruce was a lightning rod for criticism in New York as he struggled mightily with the Mets, batting a meager .219/.294/.391 in 50 games after the Mets acquired him from the Reds. Some surmised he couldn’t handle the pressure of a major media market. At least in the early going this year, Bruce is putting those concerns to rest.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.