It’s just over a week since the trade deadline passed and the Cleveland Indians have acquired outfielder Jay Bruce from the Mets. This is relevant to Yankees fans because it would appear that Brian Cashman had previously reached out to the team’s crosstown rival in an attempt to make a deal. The Mets being the Mets said no, but were the Yankees doing the right thing?
For his part, Bruce is hitting .258/.324/.524 on the season, though his 29 home runs is likely what the Yankees are attracted to. It’s pretty obvious they are set in the outfield, even with the injury to Clint Frazier. Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner are entrenched at the corners, and Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t going anywhere. Now that Aaron Hicks is close to coming back, the Yankees really don’t need Bruce to play the outfield.
the yankees were in on jay bruce, but sources say they wanted mets to pay some of the $ remaining. indians will pay rest of $.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 10, 2017
Unfortunately, what the team’s interest in Bruce really means is that they have no confidence in Matt Holliday anymore. Despite the 37-year-old veteran’s success in the first three months of the season, he has only hit .136/.165/.198 since returning from a viral infection at the middle of July. Holliday is currently on the disabled list with a back injury, but whether the issue is real or made up just to get him out of the lineup, it’s clear they have a problem.
This team’s offense has been bad recently. They are still without their starting second baseman in Starlin Castro and first baseman in Greg Bird. It would benefit the Yankees greatly if they could get an offensive boost soon before the Red Sox run away with the division. However, the team still need a designated hitter, and Bruce could have been that bat.
Of course, the very rumor of Brian Cashman’s interest is not as important as what they were interested in doing. Instead of taking on a pro-rated portion of Bruce’s $13 million contract, the Yankees instead attempted to get the Mets to pay his salary by giving them more prospects. This is obviously something the Yankees should never have to do, especially when the money would be only something like $4 million (about $6 million total counting luxury tax penalties).
Just weeks ago, Brian Cashman praised the Steinbrenners for opening up their change purse and allowing the general manager to improve the team by taking on additional salary. That goodwill has seemingly dried up along with any chance the Yankees had at improving the 2017 team—who I might add are currently in a playoff spot.
The Yankees should never, ever have to give up more prospects because they can’t afford to pay for a contract. Especially when it’s such a negligible amount in the grand scheme of things. We may never find out which players the team was willing to deal for Bruce, but it ultimately doesn’t matter because that’s not what the Mets were asking for.
Yankees would have covered only a portion of salary, but Yankees offered better players it seems.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 10, 2017
As you all may know, the Mets are still the Mets and they have their own set of cheap owners to answer to. Sandy Alderson could have gotten better prospects if he were to have made a deal with the Yankees, but saving money was set to be the priority by...someone. Overall, it was a dumb decision by both parties, but we have to live with the consequences of this non-trade.
Not only did the Yankees not get a potential key piece they might need to reach the playoffs, they also proved that the Steinbrenners still value money over winning. It’s a bad look for the organization when it refuses to flex its financial might when the team needs it most. The Yankees should be ashamed for what they tried to do, and they should be thanking the Mets for not taking the bait.