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.
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello and Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon were announced as the winners of the Comeback Player of the Year Awards for their respective leagues, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.
Porcello, 27, had mostly struggled as a starter in his first seven seasons in the majors, culminating with a career-worst 4.92 ERA in 2015. The right-hander bounced back in 2016, putting up a 22-4 record with a 3.15 ERA and a 189/32 K/BB ratio in 223 innings en route to winning the American League Cy Young Award. That came with a bit of controversy.
Rendon, 26, looked like he would be a perennial MVP candidate after a strong showing in 2014. However, he struggled to a .707 OPS and battled injuries in 2015, limiting him to 80 games. This past season, Rendon hit .270/.348/.450 with 20 home runs, 85 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 647 plate appearances. It’s a nice turnaround for a player the Nationals will soon have to consider signing to a contract extension.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Brewers have decided to non-tender power-hitting first baseman Chris Carter rather than take him through his third year of arbitration eligibility. Carter is now a free agent.
Carter, 29, smacked an NL-best 41 home runs this past season while knocking in 94 runs and hitting .222/.321/.499 in 644 plate appearances. However, he was only worth 0.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference because he provided little offensive value outside of his ability to hit home runs and he was not a great defender at first base. Carter also led the league with 206 strikeouts.
Carter earned $2.5 million in 2016. Nightengale suggests that Carter was looking at $9-10 million if he went through the arbitration process with the Brewers.