Throughout many an off-the-record chat at his locker, Alex Rodriguez cherished to play fantasy GM and inform me what he’d do if he had been in cost. And the one man he was at all times insisting ought to play extra was Eduardo Nunez.
A-Rod cherished his athleticism and his bat to the purpose that, when there was no room within the Yankees’ All-Star infield a number of years in the past, he thought Nunez needs to be the on a regular basis left fielder.
“The child goes to be a dynamic offensive participant,” A-Rod would say.
I carry it up as a result of Nunez has began to make good on that prediction the final couple of seasons, particularly after being traded to the Pink Sox final summer time, and, extra to the purpose, I believe he’s precisely what the Mets want now.
In any case, the Jay Bruce signing offers them energy, however they desperately want not less than slightly little bit of velocity and athleticism in the event that they’re going to be something however an all-or-nothing offense. As at all times, they continue to be in want of a leadoff hitter.
For the second, although, let’s not less than acknowledge that by signing Bruce it appears the Mets are making good on what their folks informed me final week, that they meant to spend and had been centered on discovering worth in a slow-moving free-agent market.
And certainly, by bringing Bruce again at a discount worth, three years and $39 million, they’ve purchased themselves not less than some measure of goodwill on this low season of fan outrage, however provided that there’s extra to come back.
It’s not a horny transfer, however it’s an necessary one in that Bruce offers the Mets some wanted thump within the lineup and confirmed final yr he can deal with first base nicely sufficient to supply safety there in case Dom Smith doesn’t hit.
Ideally they’d be higher off with Michael Conforto in proper area, however he has proven extra athleticism and outfield instincts than anybody anticipated, so I believe he may be satisfactory in middle for not less than a few years.
And, look, I could make a case that they nonetheless want Mike Moustakas, Lance Lynn, Jonathan Lucroy and Addison Reed, and in addition that the Mets ought to have the monetary wherewithal to make these strikes, however with Bruce on board I do assume they will contend subsequent season with out making a big-splash transfer.
It’s going to come back right down to the well being of their beginning pitching, it doesn’t matter what else they do, which is why I’ve been campaigning for Lynn to offer them some certainty amongst all of the uncertainty that comes with Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey.
However the level is that if Mickey Callaway, who’s bringing some necessary injury-prevention methodology with him from the tech-savvy Indians’ group, has the influence on the pitching the Mets count on, there’s a reliable likelihood this workforce can compete with the Nationals for the division title once more.
They nonetheless want not less than a few strong additions, although, most notably the second or third baseman they’ve talked about since November.
And at this level, with Bruce again to offer a middle-of-the-order bat, I believe the Nunez is the man who makes essentially the most sense. The Mets have talked to Todd Frazier a couple of short-term deal, doubtless two years, and he would offer extra energy, however is precedence now?
The Mets, bear in mind, ranked ninth within the NL in runs scored final season, regardless of rating first in dwelling runs, together with the Brewers, hitting 224 dingers. In the meantime, they had been final within the NL with 58 stolen bases, and 24 of them got here from Jose Reyes.
Nonetheless, Reyes will probably be 35 in June, and Nunez is a youthful, higher model of him, turning 31 this summer time. Final season Nunez hit .313 with 33 doubles, 12 dwelling runs, and 24 stolen bases in solely 114 video games.
His OPS for the season was .801, and Nunez thrived within the pennant-race strain with the Pink Sox, hitting .321 with a difference-making .892 OPS throughout his two months in Boston, whereas enjoying second base at instances, third at others.
“He sparked them, little doubt,” says an AL scout who was assigned to the Pink Sox down the stretch for one of many different playoff groups. “He obtained some massive hits and he simply appeared to energise that offense after they wanted it.
“To be sincere, I’m unsure they’d have held off the Yankees with out him.”
The query, in fact, is how a lot it could price, and the way in which this market is creating, it’s potential the Mets may get him on a two-year deal for, say, $20-$24 million.
That’s greater than they must pay Reyes, who most likely would come again on a discount one-year deal as a result of he desires to complete his profession in New York, but when it makes the Mets considerably higher, it could be a really affordable deal.
They’re not going to get Neil Walker for lower than that, and it’s just like what they’d be paying Josh Harrison in the event that they get him in a commerce from the Pirates.
Backside line, if the Mets aren’t keen to make not less than one other Nunez-like transfer, and possibly one thing else as nicely, any goodwill they’ve generated will evaporate earlier than the ink dries on Bruce’s contract.