The Mets will exercise their 2017 club options for outfielder Jay Bruce and infielder Jose Reyes, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who adds that the team will decline left-hander Jon Niese’s option (link via Adam Rubin of ESPN.com). Bruce will make $13MM next season, Reyes will earn the league minimum and Niese will collect a $500K buyout in lieu of the $10MM he’d have gotten had the Mets picked up his option.
With a .219/.294/.391 line in 187 plate appearances, Bruce performed poorly after the Mets acquired him from the Reds at the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Nevertheless, it’s unsurprising that the team is willing to retain him for next season, especially with fellow corner outfield option Yoenis Cespedes headed for free agency. If the Mets re-sign Cespedes or add other high-profile outfield help to go with Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto, it’s possible they’d shop Bruce, whose .265/.316/.559 line in 402 PAs with the Reds this season was enough for New York to send well-regarded infield prospect Dilson Herrera to Cincinnati for him. All told, Bruce slashed an above-average .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs, thereby bouncing back from two straight miserable offensive seasons, though that’s not great production from a corner outfielder whose defense is questionable at best.
The controversial Reyes, meanwhile, rejoined the Mets on a minor league contract in July after serving a 51-game domestic violence suspension and receiving his release from the Rockies. From a baseball standpoint, the signing benefited the Mets this year, as he hit .267/.326/.443 with eight homers and nine steals across 445 PAs. Reyes, who previously thrived as a shortstop with the Mets from 2003-11, primarily played third base while filling in for the injured David Wright. He could continue to factor in at the hot corner in 2017, and it’s possible he’ll also see time as a second baseman and outfielder.
This year was also Niese’s second go-around with the Mets, whom they traded to the Pirates last offseason for second baseman Neil Walker. Niese was a steady option out of the Mets’ rotation from 2010-15, but he struggled mightily in Pittsburgh. That led the Pirates to trade Niese back to the Mets for reliever Antonio Bastardo at the deadline. In six appearances down the stretch, including four from the bullpen, Niese yielded 14 earned runs on 13 hits and nine walks in 11 innings. Between Pittsburgh and New York, he pitched to a 5.50 ERA in 121 frames and posted the worst home run-to-fly ball ratio of his career (22.1 percent). Otherwise, Niese’s strikeout and walk rates (6.55 and 3.5) were fairly normal, as was his ground-ball percentage (51.1). He’ll now join a free agent market overflowing with fellow back-end starters.