Jay Bruce is much happier now that he’s not on the Mets.
On Aug. 1, Bruce seemed resigned to making the best of a bad situation. The outfielder who the Mets had shopped around for basically nine months watched the non-waiver trade deadline go by and no teams had made a deal for him. He’d thought he’d be on a team fighting its way to a World Series, but the Mets injuries and bad play now had him facing two months of playing out the stretch.
Just a week later, Bruce is back fighting for a pennant and making some history.
The outfielder hit a three-run home run on Wednesday as the Indians beat the Tigers for their historic 21st win in a row, tying the Cubs for the second longest winning streak in baseball history.
“I pretty much went from the least fun situation in baseball to the most fun,” Bruce told reporters after the Indians surpassed the 2002 Oakland A’s record of 20 consecutive wins in a 5-3 win over Detroit.
“That’s no slight to the Mets at all. … I just wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.”
Bruce is part of something special in Cleveland, something that hasn’t happened in 116 years.
“You can’t ask for anything more,” Bruce said. “This team was awesome before I got here. I’m happy if I can help out where I can.”
The three-run shot was his 34th of the season and his fifth with the Indians.
He was the heart of the Mets lineup this season after struggling to finish the year before The Mets traded for Bruce in a deal that sent infield prospect Wilson Herrera to the Reds at the trade deadline in 2016. He hit .219 with eight homers and 19 RBI in 50 games. The Mets had traded for him in part as insurance against having Yoenis Cespedes opt out of his contract, which he did. When the Mets re-signed Cespedes last winter, however, the Mets tried to trade him. They found no takers.
Bruce has told people in the Mets organization he would consider re-signing with the team this winter, but there are at least three other teams ahead of them on his “wish,” list. The 30-year old reaches free agency for the first time in his career.