The latest out of Citi Field…
- The Mets faced a tough challenge from the Astros in the race to sign Yoenis Cespedes in the 2016-17 offseason, John Harper of the New York Daily News reports. The Astros reportedly made Cespedes a similarly-sized offer (four years, $110MM) that the outfielder was “strongly considering,” according to one Mets source. Another Mets-connected person tells Harper that Cespedes’ “considerations were [to play for a] contender, money, no-trade clause, and [to] train in Florida near his ranch,” and Houston checked off all of those boxes but was unwilling to provide full no-trade protection. Mets GM Sandy Alderson was also wary about the no-trade clause, yet ultimately agreed to add it to the deal in order to get Cespedes back in the fold. That “separator” in talks, as another Mets source described it, may have also been necessary to retain Cespedes given his issues with former manager Terry Collins, which Harper relates at length. It’s safe to assume that the Astros don’t harbor much regret about missing on Cespedes, as they instead spread out their money to acquire multiple players (Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran) that helped them win the World Series, while Cespedes has been hampered by injuries since re-signing with New York.
- Earlier this week, Joel Sherman of the New York Post floated a hypothetical trade of struggling players, with the Mets sending Jay Bruce to the Rockies in exchange for Bryan Shaw. There isn’t any indication that either team is considering such a deal, and a trade of either player would be pretty surprising since both Bruce and Shaw just signed three-year free agent contracts last winter. Sherman’s argument, however, is that this trade would solve some problems on both rosters — Colorado would get a veteran bat who could help in the corner outfield or at first base, while the Mets would add a long-term relief piece and clear up some of their own cluttered first base/corner outfield situation. Shaw could also be helped by a reunion with Mickey Callaway, his former pitching coach in Cleveland.
- Speaking of Bruce, the veteran hasn’t played in the last three games due to some lingering injuries in his back, hip, and foot. Newsday’s Tim Healey writes that Bruce had two days fully off before being available off the bench on Saturday, though he wasn’t used. These minor injuries aside, Bruce said that he has felt healthy this season, which makes his mediocre numbers (.216/.297/.327 with three homers in 232 PA) all the more frustrating. “I feel so close. I hit balls at people. Fly out, just miss the ball. Stuff you really can’t control,” Bruce said. Advanced metrics partially bear out Bruce’s assessment — he only has a .263 BABIP, and his .344 xwOBA is far beyond his actual .275 wOBA. His 32.7% hard-hit ball rate, however, is below his career average and his .111 Isolated Power (ISO) total is by far the lowest of his career.