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.
The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.
Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.
Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.
Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.