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

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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.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.