Mets trade Jay Bruce to Indians as sell-off continues

The non-waiver trade deadline may be over, but the Mets aren’t done with their sell-off, as they sent Jay Bruce to the Indians on Wednesday.

In return, the Mets received Ryder Ryan, a 22-year-old Single-A right-hander; the Indians will pick up the approximately $5 million remaining on Bruce’s $13 million salary this season. Ryan was 3-4 with a 4.79 ERA for the Lake County Captains.

Bruce’s departure also opens up a roster spot for first-base prospect Dominic Smith, who already was expected to be called up at some point this month, but the timeline for his arrival will no doubt be accelerated. He was in the lineup for Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“While I wasn’t able to be part of what we all thought was going to be an amazing season, I more than enjoyed my time as a Met, and I appreciate the support of all the fans,” Bruce said in a text to The Post. “You were passionate and sincere, and as a baseball player, that’s what you hope for. Thank you!”

Bruce, acquired just over a year ago from the Reds, rebounded from a slow finish to 2016 with a strong campaign this season. And he made known his interest in finishing the season with a contender.

He will be a free agent after the season and the Mets had tried to move him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but were unable to find a suitable taker because the market for power hitters was surprisingly weak. Though they traded Lucas Duda and Addison Reed before the deadline, Bruce remained — but not for long.

That changed in part because Indians left fielder Michael Brantley was placed on the 10-day DL Wednesday after spraining his right ankle on Tuesday against Colorado.

It’s the second time this season a sprained right ankle has sidelined Brantley, and Cleveland needed a power bat in his absence.

Considering the return that several teams — including the Mets — got for relief pitchers, this was not the year to have a slugger to trade.

Despite a recent hitless streak, Bruce was leading the Mets with 29 homers, but having sunk 11 games under .500, it made more sense to deal Bruce if the opportunity arose.

The Mets were also in touch with the Yankees about Bruce, but moved him to the AL Central instead of The Bronx.

Dominic SmithAnthony J. Causi

The next step for the Mets is to decide when to summon Smith, who is expected to get a first taste of the majors down the stretch, much like shortstop Amed Rosario has since he was recalled from Las Vegas on Aug. 1.

Rosario has shown flashes of brilliance in the field but at the plate is still adjusting to major league pitching.

Smith has also flourished in the hitter-friendly PCL, making it difficult to tell just how prepared he is to make the leap, but the Mets want to get a look at the 22-year-old who figures to be the Opening Day first baseman in 2018.

The 2013 first-round pick (11th overall) has had somewhat of a bumpy path through the minors, with scouts questioning his conditioning, as well as his power.

In 496 plate appearances with Las Vegas this season, Smith has 16 homers and an OPS of .904.

Bruce’s time with the Mets was brief, but memorable.

Brought to New York in exchange for heralded second-base prospect Dilson Herrera, Bruce got off to a horrendous start and finished August with an OPS of .552.

He never looked comfortable in his new home over most of the final two months of 2016, but played much better over the final week of the regular season. In his last eight games, he went 12-for-25 with four homers as the Mets clinched the NL wild card.

During the offseason, the Mets picked up his $13 million option, but there was still thought of trading him. Instead, they held on to the 30-year-old, who now joins a playoff race in Cleveland.

— Additional reporting by Mike Puma

Source link