After spending most of the offseason listening to criticism over their spending habits, the New York Mets attempted to change the narrative by bringing back Jay Bruce yesterday. The move was lauded as a solid one by the media, but it didn’t really do much to move the needle in the fandom, who want to see more. The fans had some of their fears validated by FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman this morning, who dropped a bomb of a report detailing a failed deal from earlier this winter. The deal involved the Mets landing second baseman Jason Kipnis from the Cleveland Indians, a deal that many thought would happen shortly after the Winter Meetings but essentially disappeared overnight.
According to Heyman’s report, the two teams nearly completed that trade, with officials on both sides believing a deal was done. The swap was killed, however, by a higher up (assumed to be from the Mets’ side) due to money. Kipnis, who is due $30.5 million over the next two years, wasn’t viewed by the Mets as a good value for the money according to Heyman. The Indians were essentially looking to dump Kipnis’ salary, so the cost in terms of minor league prospects would have been very low for the Mets. The Mets did eventually pay $39 million to bring back Bruce, which certainly appears to be a better bang for their buck, but the reason the trade was squashed is extremely disappointing.
If Heyman is correct, that means that Mets’ General Manager Sandy Alderson made a deal with the Indians because he felt Kipnis would help the team on the field. For somebody above Alderson to stop that trade for monetary reasons is unacceptable, especially for a New York franchise that claims to be trying to win. The Mets still have a glaring hole on their infield, and if they end up filling it by signing Jose Reyes to a veteran’s minimum contract it will infuriate the fan base even further. Todd Frazier is still out there to be had, and there are other quality second basemen like Neil Walker and Eduardo Nunez available. The Mets could also figure out a way to deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, perhaps landing Josh Harrison to play second base. It looks as though the almighty dollar will rule over a potentially better baseball move, however, so there is a good chance the Bruce signing will be the biggest move the Mets make all winter.