The Cleveland Indians found their missing outfielder on Wednesday. Hours after putting Michael Brantley their All-Star outfielder on the disabled list due to an injured ankle, Cleveland acquired Jay Bruce a veteran outfielder from the New York Mets.
In exchange, the Indians sent Ryder Ryan a pitcher in their minor league systems to the Mets. The Indians made little noise at the trade deadline last month, but were able to acquire Bruce after he was unclaimed off of waivers.
The Indians lost in Game 7 of last year’s World Series and are trying to return to win a crown and end their drought of 69 years without a title.
Chris Antonetti the president of the Indians said that Bruce has been a power threat throughout his career and someone who can hit in the middle of the team’s lineup and be productive.
Antonetti added that Bruce was having one of his best years when it came to power output and slugging. He is someone the organization will add to the group already on the field and complement the team not just on the field but in the clubhouse.
With Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall a right fielder who is out injured, the defending AL pennant holders were looking for a new outfielder with pop in his bat. Bruce fits that role perfectly and he has also played first base.
Antonetti said that if both Brantley and Chisenhall were healthy then there would not be the need to acquire someone of Bruce’s caliber.
However, with Lonnie a still not able to start a rehab assignment and then come back to the Indians, and Michael suffering an ankle injury, the team felt it best to sign Jay, while to two are out hurt.
Bruce, who this season is batting .256, with 29 home runs and 75 RBIs with the Mets, will give protection to the Indians, while Brantley mends. It is unknown the length of time Brantley will be sidelined. He was having a good season after missing all by 11 games last season.
New York was eager to trade Bruce, who this year has a salary of $13 million and next season becomes a free agent. Cleveland has agreed to pay the remaining $3.7 million of Bruce’s salary.
Bruce is back with a team amidst a pennant race following a tough season with the Mets. New York acquired Bruce during the trade deadline last year from Cincinnati.