Following All-Star center fielder Odubel Herrera’s arrest for domestic abuse on Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies have been looking for a replacement in the outfield.
On Sunday they found it, completing a deal to acquire Jay Bruce from the Seattle Mariners for third base prospect Jake Scheiner and cash considerations.
According to several reports — ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first — the deal came together quickly over the weekend. It’s not a surprising development considering the Phillies have been interested in Bruce for several years.
Herrera has struggled to a .222/.288/.341 start this season before being placed on the restricted list, but he had previously been one of the team’s biggest contributors. A Rule 5 Draft pick in 2014, Herrera produced a team-high 11.3 WAR from 2015-18.
During Herrera’s absence, the Phillies have used Andrew McCutchen, who was previously starting in left field, and Scott Kingery in center field. That has also meant more time for Nick Williams in left field.
Bruce would slide into left field, where he would provide a strong power platoon bat. Bruce is slashing .212/.283/.533 with 14 home runs (tied for ninth in the AL), including an impressive .632 slugging percentage against righties.
Bruce says he enjoyed his time with Mariners and sees good things ahead for young group. First-class guy who made big impact in clubhouse in his short time here.
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) June 2, 2019
Bruce is due $14 million this season — about a third of which has already been paid — plus another $14 million next season, and the Mariners are reportedly sending $18 million to Philadelphia. That money is key, as The Athletic’s Jayson Stark points out, because it leaves the Phillies about a $15 million cushion before they reach the competitive balance tax.
The trade to Philly gives Bruce his fifth home in four years. The 32-year-old was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Mets in 2016 and then dealt to the Cleveland Indians in 2017. After signing back with the Mets in 2018, he was traded once again, this time to the Mariners in the blockbuster Edwin Diaz-Robinson Canó deal.
Bruce told reporters in Seattle he will join the Phillies in San Diego on Monday as they begin a three-game series against the Padres.
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