Report: Reds willing to trade Jay Bruce to Mets for Zack Wheeler

23 Comments

UPDATE: It appears that this scenario has some legs, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets are trying to get Bruce. Wheeler and perhaps another player would head back to Cincinnati. The Mets are also exploring other options, so nothing is close yet.

9:08 p.m. ET: As the Mets try to pick up the pieces after their deal for Carlos Gomez fell apart, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that they have an interesting proposal to consider from the Reds:

Andy Martino and Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reported over the weekend that the Mets were shopping Wheeler and the Reds were among the teams who inquired on him. The 25-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in March and will likely be out until around midseason next year, but he has shown promise in the early part of his career and remains under team control through 2019.

Bruce, 28, is batting .257/.341/.486 with 17 home runs, 56 RBI, and six steals over 96 games this season. He’s owed $12.5 million next season and his contract includes a $13 million club option or a $1 million buyout for 2017. The Mets haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt about their ability to spend to bring in talent, so it’s unclear whether this is a realistic fit. It’s also an imperfect one, as their greatest need is in center field. If Bruce was brought in, the Mets could consider moving Curtis Granderson to center and play Bruce in right while keeping rookie Michael Conforto in left and using Juan Lagares off the bench.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.