The Cleveland Indians acquired outfielder Jay Bruce from the New York Mets on Wednesday, adding another power-hitting force to a lineup they hope can carry them back to the World Series, a source familiar with the trade told Yahoo Sports.
Bruce, 30, is in the midst of his best season in nearly half a decade. His 29 home runs ranked fourth in the National League, and scouts and defensive metrics agree his glove in right field has been an asset this season.
The Indians thought enough that they agreed to take on the remainder of his salary – somewhere in the range of $3.75 million. Cleveland was able to deal for Bruce after the July 31 trade deadline because he cleared waivers earlier in the month, allowing him to be dealt to any team. The Indians own a 3½-game lead over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central and hopeful to run through a wide-open American League as they did last postseason, when they lost the seventh game of the World Series in extra innings.
Bruce is the latest player to leave New York with the Mets’ season careening toward an ugly finish. Hopeful to contend for a NL East title, they are mired in fourth place after a panoply of injuries derailed their season. Already the Mets have dealt first baseman Lucas Duda and reliever Addison Reed.
While Cleveland’s need for another bat isn’t acute, an injury to left fielder Michael Brantley’s ankle and a lingering calf strain that sent right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall to the disabled list made Bruce that much more attractive. Cleveland’s outfield depth is strong, with Austin Jackson, Abraham Almonte and Brandon Guyer in addition to Brantley and rookie center fielder Bradley Zimmer, but Bruce’s presence should add thunder to the middle of the lineup anyway.
Even after a recent slump, Bruce is hitting .256/.321/.520 this season. Over his 10-year career, he has hit 270 home runs.