The Cleveland Indians acquired veteran outfielder Jay Bruce from the New York Mets in a trade Wednesday night. The Indians have agreed to pick up the roughly $4.2 million that’s left of Bruce’s $13 million salary this season, a source confirmed.
Minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan is headed to New York in the trade. Ryan, 22, was a 30th-round pick by Cleveland out of the University of North Carolina in the 2016 MLB first-year player draft. He’s 3-4 with a 4.79 ERA for Lake County in the Class A Midwest League this season. He has recorded six saves while appearing in 33 games — all in relief.
Bruce, a three-time All-Star, is hitting .258 with 29 homers and 75 RBIs this year. He gives the Indians a corner outfielder and established bat to replace Michael Brantley, who went on the disabled list Monday with a sprained ankle. Lonnie Chisenhall has also been on the disabled list since early July with a strained calf.
“Obviously, if both Michael and Lonnie are healthy and unrestricted at this point, we wouldn’t have the opportunity for a player like Jay,” Indians president Chris Antonetti said. “But, with Lonnie still at least a little ways off from being able to get out on a rehab assignment and get back to the active roster, and Michael sustaining the injury the other day, now we felt that bringing in Jay will help us while those guys are out.”
Sources said the New York Yankees were also involved in talks to acquire Bruce before the Mets traded him to Cleveland.
It’s the second straight season Bruce has been traded, as the Mets landed the veteran outfielder in a deal with the Cincinnati Reds last year.
Bruce’s 29 home runs tie him with Bryce Harper for fourth among National League outfielders. The Indians have not gotten much pop out of their outfield bats, as their 37 combined homers rank them 25th among outfields in baseball, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“He’s been a consistent power threat and a guy that’s been able to hit in the middle of the order and be a really productive hitter over the course of his career,” Antonetti said.
“And he’s in the midst of having one of the best years of his career in terms of his power output and his slugging, and he’s a guy that we think will add to our group on the field and complement our team in the clubhouse, because Jay’s also not only known as a really productive player, but a very good teammate and a first-class professional.”
Bruce, 30, has been battling a stiff neck and is currently mired in an 0-for-16 slump.