The New York Mets have trying to add some much-needed firepower to their lineup and are close to acquiring slugging outfielder Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds, as first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney. Heading to Cincinnati is outfielder Brandon Nimmo and a pair of lower-level minor leaguers, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
However, there’s an issue with the medical of a minor leaguer heading to the Reds, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Both teams are currently attempting to restructure the deal before the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
Bruce, 29, is currently leading the National League with 80 runs batted in and tied with now-former teammate Adam Duvall for third in home runs with 25. A three-time NL All-Star, Bruce has posted at least 21 HR in eight of his nine seasons and never posted fewer than 52 RBIs.
— ESPN (@espn) August 1, 2016
Bruce would remain in his customary right field, while last year’s major deadline pickup, Yoenis Cespedes, would stay in left field, and Curtis Granderson/Michael Conforto platoon in center field. While the move would cause a logjam in the outfield, Bruce provides insurance for the Amazin’s with a team option, as Cespedes could opt-out of his deal in the offseason.
“With everything that’s going on in general, they want to give me a breather,” Bruce said to Cincinnati.com yesterday about the entire trade process. “It’s been tough, man. This has been the most crazy situation I’ve ever dealt with in baseball. I’m an employee, man. They tell me and I do it. I respect their decision.”
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) August 1, 2016
The Mets’ biggest offensive struggle has been hitting with runners in scoring position. Per ESPN, the team sports a.206 average in those situations this season. By contrast, Bruce is hitting.360 with RISP, a clear upgrade over the Mets’ current hitters.
To acquire Bruce, the Mets give up Nimmo, their No. 5 ranked prospect by MLB.com and No. 3 ranked prospect by Baseball America. The 24-year-old made his MLB debut a few weeks ago and has hit 0.236/0.300/0.291 with one homer and five RBIs in 18 games. Originally one of two first-round draft picks in 2011, the first year under general manager Sandy Alderson, Nimmo gradually progressed through the Mets’ system. Spending most of 2016 at Triple-A, Nimmo hit 0.336/0.409/0.517 with seven HR and 45 RBIs in 72 games.
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) August 1, 2016
Originally one of two first-round draft picks in 2011, the first year under general manager Sandy Alderson, Nimmo gradually progressed through the Mets’ system. Spending most of 2016 at Triple-A, Nimmo hit 0.336/0.409/0.517 with seven HR and 45 RBIs in 72 games.
As noted by Sherman of the Post, the Mets have now traded both of their first-round picks from 2011, dealing Michael Fulmer to the Tigers in the Cespedes deal last year and Nimmo to the Reds this year.
Max Wotell, 19, is one of the two minor leaguers rumored to be heading to Cincinnati. A third-round pick from Marvin Ridge High School in the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft, Wotell currently owns a 3-1 record with a 3.94 ERA for the Kingsport Mets.
The third piece of the rumored package going to the Reds is 22-year-old right-hander Chris Flexen. A 14th round pick out of Memorial High School in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft, Flexen currently has a 7-9 record with a 3.63 ERA in 19 starts with the St. Lucie Mets. However, Flexen underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and could be the piece holding up the deal.
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]