Good Morning
Good Morning

Jay Bruce trade complicates Mets’ muddled outfield

Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce hits a go-ahead two-run

Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce hits a go-ahead two-run home run off Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Daniel Mengden in the third inning of baseball game, in Cincinnati on June 11, 2016. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

Jay Bruce likely will be slotted in rightfield upon his arrival from the Reds, according to sources, but he also might be approached about his willingness to play centerfield.

Whatever the Mets decide with the new bat in the middle of their lineup, they must figure out how to arrange their suddenly muddled outfield. “It’s not an absolute perfect fit for us,” general manager Sandy Alderson said Monday. “We start with the need for offense and work from there.”

Indeed, Bruce has hit 25 homers and leads the National League with 80 RBIs. But he is a lefthanded-hitting corner outfielder, joining Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Alejandro De Aza and Brandon Nimmo. Yoenis Cespedes, who did not start last night because of his sore right quadriceps, must stay in leftfield because his injury compromises his ability to cover ground in center.

With Bruce expected to play rightfield, Granderson will be displaced, likely forced to play centerfield. “I’ve played center,” he said. “Like I told you guys a million times before, it doesn’t matter.”

Despite that willingness, though, sources said his preference is to play in the corners.

Bruce’s addition also seems to squeeze out Conforto, who recently began playing centerfield. Like Granderson and Bruce, he profiles best as a corner outfielder. “We’ll just wait and see what happens,” Terry Collins said. “And we’ll make those adjustments every day and make sure guys are rested and get playing time.”

New York Sports