This is not going to be a hot take, nor is it going to revolutionary analysis. The Jay Bruce signing is fine. Jay Bruce is fine. The deal is slightly below what I expected, but it’s fine. It’s backloaded enough that he probably won’t be on the team in 2020, which is fine. Jay Bruce will hit 30 home runs if MLB doesn’t unjuice the ball (uh, I mean, if the fly-ball revolution dies), which is fine.
This deal and Jay Bruce will be not fine if the Mets stop here.
The 2017 team was bad. I don’t think that’s arguable. They were bad, and then everyone got hurt and/or traded and then they were worse. The injuries didn’t help, but it’s difficult to see how bringing back the identical team and praying that everyone stays healthy is a solid business strategy. And maybe it works out. Maybe Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom split the Cy Young Award and Matt Harvey turns back into the Dark Knight and Yoenis Cespedes wins the Triple Crown and Michael Conforto looks like the second coming of Mike Trout. If that happens, I owe you all a drink.
It won’t happen.
It won’t happen because it’s the Mets and because fate is cruel and life is miserable and nothing good is allowed to happen.
So instead, we have the 2017 Mets + Anthony Swarzak – Neil Walker. That’s probably not winning you the NL East, no matter how many games they play against the Marlins. It does, however, guarantee that Conforto will be playing out of position and probably less often; that is, if Conforto’s shoulder is still attached to his body. It may mean that Dom Smith will be spelled at first if he looks like 2017 Dom Smith. Bruce will probably be fine, because he has been fine. But he’s not enough.
We don’t know what the Mets’ budget is. It’s unclear if the Mets know what the Mets’ budget is. It has to be more than a probably-decent reliever and an outfielder who doesn’t really fit. They have to spend more or they have to stop pretending at all.
Jay Bruce is fine if he’s a piece of a plan. He’s fine if they’re bringing in a starting pitcher and Addison Reed and a second baseman not named Jose Reyes. He won’t be fine if he’s supposed to change the Mets on his own.
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson – USA Today Sports