Former Mets outfielders could make impact in October

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images /

It’s been a disappointing season for the Mets, but the outfielders they just traded could play a big part in shaping the postseason.

At the beginning of the season, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson likely envisioned themselves helping their team in the playoffs. That could still very much be the case for both players, but it won’t happen with the New York Mets. Each outfielder was traded to a contender this month, giving them a renewed chance to participate in important baseball come October.

Given the way the Mets were once again unceremoniously derailed by injuries, particularly to their vaunted starting rotation, it’s hard to fault them too harshly for the way their once promising season has fizzled. Both impending free agents, it made sense to deal Bruce and Granderson after they cleared waivers. The club had already moved Lucas Duda and Addison Reed prior to the non-waiver deadline, setting the stage for a further sell-off.

But while many August transactions aren’t quite as headline-worthy as their July counterparts, the pair of former Mets outfielders have a real chance to make significant impacts on their new teams over the remainder of the season.

Bruce arrived to a Cleveland Indians squad in need of some extra firepower. The Tribe’s 148 home runs rank a modest 17th in MLB. And with Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte currently on the DL, adding another outfielder couldn’t hurt.

A veteran slugger like Bruce fits the bill perfectly. The 30-year-old was enjoying a strong year with the Mets, slashing .256/.321/.520 with 29 homers and 75 RBI over 103 games at the time of his trade. He hasn’t missed a beat in Cleveland, batting .389/.463/.778 with three long balls and 12 RBI in just 10 contests with the Indians.

Bruce’s total of 32 home runs ties him for eighth among both leagues. That’s certainly not an insignificant player to be switching sides in the thick of a playoff race, especially after July 31. While it would be unfair to credit Bruce alone, Cleveland is beginning to put some distance between itself and the rest of the AL Central. Winners of eight of their last 10, the Tribe now hold a six-game advantage over the Twins.

More from Call to the Pen

Granderson, on the other hand, is expected to play more of a complementary role on a Dodgers team that didn’t have any obvious flaws before his acquisition. Nabbing the 14-year veteran was a “rich get richer” scenario rather than addressing a legitimate hole. But that’s not to say Granderson can’t make his presence felt down the stretch and beyond.

His numbers don’t jump out at you thanks to an awful April, but from the start of May onward, Granderson is slashing a healthy .259/.378/.561 with 18 homers and 46 RBI. The 36-year-old and his left-handed swing can certainly still pull a home run ball into the right-field seats.

With the seemingly unstoppable way the Dodgers are going about their business (53 games over .500!), it’s hard not to see them going deep into the postseason. To be honest, anything short of a World Series appearance would be a massive disappointment. Granderson feels like the kind of guy who could belt an important home run in a game in October, whether he starts or comes off the bench.

Next: Phillies rebuild fuels trade fears

The Mets hoped to be participating in the postseason themselves this year, but they could still have a hand in how it pans out. Their cross-town rivals played a similar role last year as the Yankees shipped relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller to the eventual pennant winners. Both were invaluable to their respective clubs reaching the Fall Classic. The Dodgers and Indians wouldn’t mind the same kind of mojo from their Mets pick-ups.