Marc Carig of Newsday reports that the Phillies came closest to acquiring Mets outfielder Jay Bruce during the offseason. Though the Phillies are still in a rebuilding phase, the club was on the hunt for veteran outfielders on short-term contracts, which explains why the club sought Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders. It is unclear why the Phillies came up short, but the Mets reportedly wanted two prospects in return. The Phillies could’ve been turned off by that and/or Bruce’s $13 million salary.
Bruce, 30, has terrorized the Phillies to start the 2017 season. Overall, he’s hitting .309/.387/.673 with six home runs and 14 RBI in 62 plate appearances. Four of those home runs and 11 of those RBI have come in his 21 PA against the Phillies. And two of those home runs and five of those RBI came on Wednesday night, when he provided all of the Mets’ offense in a 5-4 win over the Phillies.
Bruce was a lightning rod for criticism in New York as he struggled mightily with the Mets, batting a meager .219/.294/.391 in 50 games after the Mets acquired him from the Reds. Some surmised he couldn’t handle the pressure of a major media market. At least in the early going this year, Bruce is putting those concerns to rest.