CLEVELAND — No one had a more profound escape from New York than Jay Bruce, who was traded from the Mets mess on Aug. 9 to the eventual AL Central champion Indians.
On the eve of the Indians-Yankees ALDS opener, Bruce was asked on Wednesday to reflect on his year-plus at Citi Field and the end of Terry Collins’ tenure as manager. While Bruce offered kind words about Collins, the veteran outfielder also made it clear he wasn’t shocked Collins’ time was up.
“I don’t think it was hard to see,” Bruce said. “I think that a lot of times in sports they feel like a shakeup needs to happen. The old saying is you can’t fire 25 guys, so a lot of times managerial changes happen. I wish Terry the best in whatever he does next.”
Bruce said he was disappointed in the anonymous player quotes in a Newsday article in the last week of the season that were critical of Collins.
“Terry and I had a great relationship,” Bruce said. “It’s one of those deals where you hate to see that. You hate to see people . . . you would like to see people, if they do have a problem, approach him about it, talk to him about it, and not let it out through the media. But losing causes a lot of that stuff. If they’re back in the playoffs this year, have a good season, no one’s talking about any of it. It’s an unfortunate situation, but the reality of it is it’s sports and it’s kind of part of the game. It sounds like he’s going to stay with the team in the front office and help guys prepare as far as the minor leaguers go, so I wish him the best with that.”
The Indians enter the ALDS as a favorite to reach the World Series. Bruce, who hit .248 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs in 43 games after the trade, said he thought that was going to be the situation with the Mets going into the season.
“Absolutely,” Bruce said. “If you had asked anyone at the beginning of the year, they would have expected them to be a World Series favorite. Honestly. Because of the pitching. But it didn’t go that way. It’s tough because injuries a lot of times kind of dictate your season. And they just had a really, really bad run with the injuries and kind of limped through the whole year.”