Last night’s trade sending Jay Bruce from the Mets to the Indians was perhaps the most significant deal since the non-waiver deadline. It could well hold that title the rest of the way, though there are also a variety of other notable players that could be dealt this month. (Click here for MLBTR’s top 25 ranking of candidates; click here to see the players that have already reportedly cleared waivers.)
While the transaction was largely a straightforward affair — a team with a need chipped in a low-level prospect and took on the entire contract of a veteran who fit — it’s worth taking a look at some of the post-deal chatter:
- Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti spoke with the media about the deal, and MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian provided a transcript of the chat. Antonetti acknowledged the importance of injuries to the swap, noting that the club wouldn’t really even have playing time to give to Bruce were it not for the absences of Lonnie Chisenhall and now Michael Brantley. The timing was right now, says the club’s top baseball decisionmaker, but the organization has long had interest in Bruce. While Cleveland will begin to face some challenging playing-time questions if it gets a fully healthy roster, the expectation at present is that Bruce will “play regularly.”
- There aren’t a lot of recent scouting reports on Ryder Ryan, the young righty who goes to New York in the trade. That’s due largely to the fact that he is a late-round relief prospect that hasn’t had much time to climb the organizational ladder. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a reasonably intriguing prospect. Antonetti himself said as much, crediting Ryan’s “really good stuff” and saying he “has a chance to pitch in a major league bullpen.” Baseball America also has some details, noting that Ryan is working in the mid-nineties while working on developing his slider and commanding his pitches.
- One of the most interesting elements of the deal, though, was the alternative swap that didn’t go through. The Yankees were in on Bruce through to the end, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) and Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link) report. But the Yankees’ offer would’ve left the Mets holding onto most of Bruce’s remaining salary this year, per reports from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (on Twitter) and Newsday’s Marc Carig (also in a tweet), while also picking up two prospects that (it stands to reason) would be more valuable than Ryan. The Mets’ motivation for choosing Cleveland’s offer isn’t yet entirely clear — GM Sandy Alderson has yet to speak to the media, but will do so today — but there could certainly be multiple factors at play. While the cross-town Yankees obviously aren’t off limits as a trade partner, perhaps considerations of intra-city marketing played some role. And surely the cost and talent packages offered different benefits and drawbacks.
- Per Sherman, Bruce would’ve functioned as the DH had he been acquired by the Yankees, filling in there with Matt Holliday on the DL. With Aaron Hicks nearing a return and Greg Bird still representing a possible option, there are some internal possibilities for bolstering the team’s array of lefty bats. While it’s not clear at present whether the Yanks are looking hard at alternatives, it stands to reason they’d be open to the possibility. (Clearly, though, there are limits to how much salary they want to take on at this point.) Among the players that we have identified as plausible August trade chips, there are a few that could fit the bill. If the Mets are willing to keep chatting, old friend Curtis Granderson or even Neil Walker could make sense; neither has the same profile as Bruce but both offer more defensive function. Former Red Sox nemesis Daniel Nava might be an affordable target, while Matt Joyce of the Athletics is surely available. Of course, Yonder Alonso arguably made the most sense, but he was dealt to the Mariners after Seattle placed a waiver claim (meaning the Yankees never had a shot — at least, after July 31st).