NEW YORK — Yoenis Cespedes‘ return to the Mets was a perfect marriage in all ways but one: the Mets now have four power-hitting corner outfielders on their roster, and no place to play them all. So it came as little surprise when, mere hours after news of Cespedes’ contract broke, the Mets began fielding calls on Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson.
Multiple sources said the team’s strong preference is to deal Bruce, a 29-year-old whose average of 29 home runs per season since 2011 makes him attractive to clubs. Trading Bruce would also allow the Mets to use Granderson at least semi-regularly in center field, where he impressed the team with his defense last year at age 35.
The question is what the Mets could get in return. They appear to be looking at one of two things: either a Major League-caliber reliever, or a collection of prospects to bolster their farm system.
“We’re always looking for value, whether that’s in the form of a Major League-ready player or a prospect,” general manager Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday at Citi Field, where Cespedes put pen to paper on his four-year, $110 million deal.
With Cespedes signed, the Mets could strike quickly on a trade of Bruce, who drew a lot of interest at the Trade Deadline. That would leave them with an outfield of Cespedes, Granderson, Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto, all of whom would receive significant playing time in 2017. Though there is a small chance they could trade Granderson instead, the Mets are far less interested in that scenario.
Dealing Bruce would also mark the second part of the Mets’ three-pronged winter plan. With little else on their to-do list offensively — Alderson squelched talk that the club might pursue a catching upgrade — the Mets will spend the rest of their offseason looking mostly at relievers. Multiple sources said the team has no interest in high-end free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon. But the Mets do feel they need to add bullpen depth, particularly with a possible suspension looming for their closer, Jeurys Familia. That should take the form of several mid-tier signings, allowing multiple relievers to come to camp competing for jobs.
“Anybody who looks at our team right now, I’d say that with the exception of a bench spot or two, the position players look pretty solid,” Alderson sad. “The starting pitchers look pretty good. There are some questions in the bullpen we’re going to have to answer, either internally or from external sources — free agents or trades or what have you. What you see is what we see.”
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / Mets fielding calls on Bruce, Granderson