Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets are open to the idea of bringing back Jay Bruce if it’s on a three-year contract. Puma says, however, that Bruce is looking for a five-year deal.
It seems pretty dang unlikely that Bruce will get five years from anyone, of course, but this is how negotiating works.
Bruce spent part of 2016 and part of 2017 with the Mets. The part of 2017 he didn’t spend with the Mets he spent in Cleveland, which is where new Mets manager Mickey Callaway was, so there’s familiarity all around. Bruce hit a career-high 36 home runs last season, but his defense has degraded steadily over the years.
At the moment the Mets’ biggest need is in center field, which Bruce can’t handle, but right fielder Michael Conforto is coming off shoulder surgery and, while everyone is being optimistic about his recovery schedule, it would not be surprising at all if he was not ready to begin the regular season. That would make a place for Bruce. It’s also possible that the Mets could try Bruce at first base — he’s played three whole games there in his career — making him insurance for Dom Smith, who struggled in his first taste of the majors and may or may not be the Mets’ future first baseman.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.