2017 Fantasy Baseball: Cleveland Indians Acquire Jay Bruce
The Indians have made the second significant August deal so far this season. August deals are more rare than July deals, but there are always a few each season that make a difference in the pennant race. In this case, the Cleveland Indians traded minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan to the New York Mets for impending free agent outfielder Jay Bruce.
Why the Indians make this deal
The Indians just put Michael Brantley on the disabled list and Lonnie Chisenhall has been battling injuries all season. So, obviously they have been dealing with a shortage of outfielders. That would be burying the lead though. Bruce has hit 29 home runs in one of the more spacious ballparks in baseball. So, he joins a lineup that includes Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, and Carlos Santana. It may not give them the best lineup in baseball, but with their starting pitching and bullpen they could have enough to return to the World Series.
Bruce will slot into right field longterm and if Brantley returns they will have a full complement of outfielders. More importantly, Bruce gives them a left-handed power bat to complement Santana and Encarnacion in the lineup. Terry Francona can stagger them in the lineup and create matchup problems for opposing pitching staffs.
It is a bonus that they didn’t have to surrender one of their top 30 prospects in the trade. Whether Bruce stays with the Indians long-term is another question, but Ryan was a 30th round selection in the 2016 draft and barely has advanced to lower A ball. The gamble of getting a guy that can walk at the end of the season is well worth that price.
Why the Mets make this deal
It is pretty clear that the Mets did not want to bring Bruce back and did not want to risk giving him the 18 million dollar tender offer. However, this “haul” seems a little light for someone of Bruce’s caliber. Bruce had moved to first base following the Lucas Duda trade, so there didn’t seem to be a desperate need to find a new home for him. That being said, he didn’t seem to be in their long-term plans and they must feel differently about Ryan than most scouts.
Ryan has worked exclusively in relief since he was drafted our of the University of North Carolina. In a little more than a season he has pitched to a 3-5 record with a 4.50 ERA in 48 games. He’s earned seven saves in that time and struck out 73 batters in 60 innings. Missing bats is an important skill to have and one of the only numbers scouts look at. Perhaps he has the potential to be a late inning reliever a couple of years down the line.
What this deal means for you
Bruce played enough first base to get eligibility in some formats. Add that to the fact that he is moving to a better home ballpark and a team that should afford him more run producing opportunities and you could consider that a win-win. Of course, he also moves from a situation where they were firmly out of the playoffs into a situation where he is firmly in the playoffs. You can never predict how the added pressure will impact a guy like that.