Mets want Jay Bruce for three years; he’d like five

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Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets are open to the idea of bringing back Jay Bruce if it’s on a three-year contract. Puma says, however, that Bruce is looking for a five-year deal.

It seems pretty dang unlikely that Bruce will get five years from anyone, of course, but this is how negotiating works.

Bruce spent part of 2016 and part of 2017 with the Mets. The part of 2017 he didn’t spend with the Mets he spent in Cleveland, which is where new Mets manager Mickey Callaway was, so there’s familiarity all around. Bruce hit a career-high 36 home runs last season, but his defense has degraded steadily over the years.

At the moment the Mets’ biggest need is in center field, which Bruce can’t handle, but right fielder Michael Conforto is coming off shoulder surgery and, while everyone is being optimistic about his recovery schedule, it would not be surprising at all if he was not ready to begin the regular season. That would make a place for Bruce. It’s also possible that the Mets could try Bruce at first base — he’s played three whole games there in his career — making him insurance for Dom Smith, who struggled in his first taste of the majors and may or may not be the Mets’ future first baseman.