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Mets sign Jay Bruce to 3-year deal

The outfielder returns to New York after a short stay in Cleveland.

MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have reached a three-year, $39 million deal with outfielder Jay Bruce, a major-league source confirmed Wednesday night. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick was first to report the deal.

Bruce returns to New York, where he spent about a full season before being traded to Cleveland in a waiver-wire deal in August. He reportedly drew strong interest from the Giants and Astros but ultimately will re-join Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes in the Mets outfield. The signing may mean the Mets will shop Juan Lagares in coming weeks.

Bruce, who turns 31 in early April, hit .245/.313/.482 with 37 homers in 153 games for the Mets after being acquired in a deadline deal with the Reds in 2016. He is the top free-agent position player to sign so far this winter, with J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas still available.

Bruce owns a career .249/.319/.472 line with 277 homers in 10 seasons with the Reds (2008-16), Mets (2016-17) and Indians (2017). He’s a two-time All-Star who has two top-10 MVP finishes and two Silver Slugger awards.

Bruce is the second free-agent signing of the winter for the Mets, who also inked Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14 million deal at the winter meetings.