Jay Bruce continues to show why the Mets should, and shouldn’t, trade him. Bruce’s three-run, first-inning homer, to center was the catalyst in tonight’s 9-3 mauling of the Rockies.
It’s been only two games against a struggling team, so let’s not go overboard on the Mets so far in the second half. That includes rushing to trade the Mets’ most productive hitter, whose 24th homer puts him on pace for 44 homers and 114 RBI.
That makes the 30-year outfielder attractive not only to a contender in search of a bat, but also to the Mets in the future as a complement to Yoenis Cespedes, but also a safety net should his injury problems persist.
Quite simply, if the Mets will be contenders next season as they believe, they’ll need to either bring back Bruce or replace his production which won’t come cheap.
Bruce will make $13.1-million this season and will be a free-agent this winter in the off-season, and I’m guessing could be re-signed for $80-million over four years. He’ll draw interest in the trade market, but his contract has a limited no-trade clause that blocks deals to contenders Arizona, Boston, Cleveland, Minnesota, the Yankees and Tampa Bay, and also-rans Miami and Oakland.
The Mets could offer Bruce a one-year qualifying offer, which would either keep him around for another season or net them a draft pick.
LUGO DOES IT ALL: Seth Lugo had one of those Little League games tonight, giving up three runs in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts, and also hitting a home run in the third.
Got a huge laugh when Lugo returned to the dugout to receive the silent treatment. Lugo took it all in stride, including giving air high-fives.
With Jacob deGrom going eight innings Friday and with Lugo’s effort, the Mets’ bullpen has worked just 3.1 innings in the series.
“He got ahead of hitters, changed speeds and kept the ball out of the middle of the plate,’’ was how Collins explained Lugo’s success.
CESPEDES LEAVES GAME: Cespedes left the game in the sixth inning when he jammed his left hip attempting to make a diving catch.
“It was more precautionary than anything,’’ manager Terry Collins said when asked his reasoning for taking Cespedes out of the game. “He felt something in his hip. I doubt he’ll be in there tomorrow.’’
Cespedes said through an interpreter that he left the game because of the score, and believes he’ll be able to play, “but if they want to give me the day off I’ll gladly take it.’’
CARGO DROPOFF: Do you remember when the Mets, before acquiring Cespedes, were interested in Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez? He’s fallen on hard times lately, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts tonight to see his average drop to .215.
EXTRA INNINGS: Lucas Duda, who like Bruce, will be on the block once the Mets officially put up the “For Sale,’’ sign, drove in two runs with a double. … Mets’ hitters struck out nine times, including four by Michael Conforto. … Jose Reyes stayed hot with two hits, including his ninth homer in the eighth.