Let me start with a couple of disclaimers. First, I like Jay Bruce, the person. His teammates enjoy him, and it seems like there’s a little more substance to him than the average baseball player. Second, he would have made the 2018 Giants better, at least in comparison to their current roster. It’s not my money, so if the difference is Bruce or Jarrett Parker, heck yeah, load him up.
That written, however, it was very, very easy to see how Bruce was going to be a bad idea for the Giants. Not only is his only skill — left-handed power — exactly the kind of skill that’s muted by AT&T Park, but he would have made a very left-handed lineup even more left-handed. The first rule of the offseason was to stay away from Bruce and Mike Moustakas, and the Giants have appeared to do just that. The Mets signed Bruce for three years and $39 million, which seems to be a fair enough deal for both sides. And I’m pretty happy it’s not the Giants who signed it.
For starters, that would have been the offseason, full stop, and it still wouldn’t have guaranteed that the Giants would stay under the luxury tax threshold. The in-house option to play center field would also be left-handed, and the Giants would have been very easy to pitch against in the late innings. More so.
The Giants were apparently still interested in Bruce, at least in theory.
The #SFGiants also made a 3-year offer for OF Jay Bruce, but their offer was about $10 million less than the 3-year, $39 million contract Bruce received from the #Mets. They remain in talks with the #Pirates for CF Andrew McCutchen— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 11, 2018
For three years and $30 million or so, Bruce would have made a lot more sense, just based on the hit the Giants would take in relation to the luxury tax threshold. They still could have considered Jarrod Dyson or a mid-season acquisition with Bruce making $10 million. Once it got up to what the Mets paid, the GIants bowed out. As they should have.
There are still options. If the Pirates are willing to accept less than a monster package for Andrew McCutchen -- and they might, if they’re trading Gerrit Cole and jumping on the rebuild with both feet — that would be the right-handed fit that makes more sense than Jay Bruce. There’s still the chance for Domingo Santana, even if it’s a huge long shot.
And there’s still Jayson Werth, who deserves his own feature. You might think I’m kidding about him, but I can absolutely see the Giants signing him to play left field. Even better: I can see him making more sense than Bruce. Stop shaking your head. It’s possible.
But for now, what we know is that Jay Bruce isn’t on the Giants. A bullet was possibly dodged, even though the team might be worse than they would have been?
I don’t know, man.
This offseason is weird on 38 different levels.