Mets outfielder Jay Bruce has come up as a potential salary-swap candidate in a variety of hypothetical trade scenarios. Whether or not he’s a realistic trade piece remains to be seen, but his limited no-trade rights could play into the situation.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post provides an updated list, via Twitter, of the slate of teams that Bruce cannot be dealt to without permission. For the present season, Bruce can block deals to the Tigers, Marlins, Athletics, Rays, and Blue Jays. He had previously listed the Orioles and Mariners in place of the Detroit and Miami organizations, but now Bruce can be dealt to Baltimore or Seattle without his permission.
Needless to say, it does not seem terribly likely that Bruce’s blocking rights will impact his potential market. While the A’s and Rays do feature as contending organizations, neither figures to prioritize offloading existing salary — or to seek out Bruce’s rights in a deal. That said, it’s not entirely impossible to cook up scenarios involving the other three teams on Bruce’s list, so their inclusion would add a significant complication to any (purely theoretical) trade talks.
Bruce has had some ups and downs throughout his career, and he’s now coming off of a dry spell at 31 years of age. Last year, he slashed just .223/.310/.370 with nine home runs in 361 plate appearances. He has been much better in the past, of course, and carries a lifetime .247/.318/.466 output at the plate.
Hip issues limited Bruce’s availability in 2018 and could help explain the difficulties, though with $26MM left to go for the next two seasons his contract is not an appealing one. It’s certainly still possible that the Mets could move him in a deal involving one or more other highly paid players. Those interested in contemplating the possibilities may be interested in checking out our recent listing of some of the many potential contract-swap candidates around the game.