The Mets helped thaw what has been an ice cold offseason by signing Jay Bruce to a three-year deal last night, and apparently almost had Bruce’s teammate Jason Kipnis through trade, according to Jon Heyman.
The two teams had been engaging in trade talks for the past month, and appeared to be at the finish line before the deal fell through.
Mets have had serious talks with Cleveland on Jason Kipnis this week, source tells SB Nation. There's been traction there. Fit looks even better with Kinsler to Anaheim.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 14, 2017
Heyman reports the Mets and Indians had a deal in place to bring the second baseman over from Cleveland, but was nixed by “someone at the top, very likely over money.”
Kipnis has $30.5 million guaranteed over the next two seasons, and the Mets clearly thought Bruce was the more valuable investment. Bruce has continued to improve his fly ball and pull rates to generate power, which the Mets saw during his time with the team last year. In the Mets eyes, Kipnis brings a sense of uncertainty given his performance last season.
Kipnis, 30, battled injury in 2017 and struggled on the field when healthy. His .705 OPS was over 100 points worse than his 2016 campaign, and batted just .232 over 90 games. By the end of the season, the Indians were trying Kipnis in the outfield.
With second base still a clear need for the Mets, it is unclear which direction they will go to fill that hole. They have yet to express interest in All-Star Starlin Castro, who has requested a trade from the Marlins and could be a fit given his experience playing in New York.
Should the Mets elect to save money (which they often do), they could bring back Jose Reyes for a discounted price to be their second baseman. Meanwhile, the Indians will likely continue to shop around Kipnis to teams that need infield help.