Yankees, Jay Bruce Agree to MiLB Deal

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees and left-handed outfielder Jay Bruce, who is somehow just 33-years-old, are in agreement on a MiLB deal:

Bruce, most recently a Phillie, will offer the Yankees some left-handed depth in the system, though I doubt he’ll get much playing time as a regular even if he makes the big league squad. After all, he’s played in just 224 games since the start of the 2018 campaign, logging a .217/.282/.448 (95 OPS+) over about 800 plate appearances. The Yankees have many better options and it’s doubtful he logs much time in the OF, barring another year of injury catastrophes.

That said, I can see a role for Bruce. One potential interesting nugget: even last year, when he struggled, Bruce hit right-handed pitchers well. It was just a small sample (fewer than 100 AB) but he was markedly better against RHP than LHP – a trend that is mostly consistent throughout his career. He also hit fastballs decently hard overall in 2020.

The point of this quick analysis is to say it’s not hard to see him as a roster upgrade over Mike Ford. He plays some 1B and DH and might be a pinch-hitting option off the bench against a FB-heavy RHP in certain situations. It is unlikely that Bruce ever returns to his 2010-13 peak, when he logged a 120 OPS+ in ~2500 PA, but he could end up being a serviceable backend roster upgrade. And, if not, no harm, no foul.

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4 Comments

  1. Mungo

    I see two possible likely scenarios here:

    1) Jay Bruce and Greg Allen can provide a replacement for Gardner, with Bruce providing lefty offense, and Allen being available for late-inning defense and rest for Hicks, or;
    2) Bruce represents a potential upgrade at the margins, with that margin being an upgrade over Mike Ford. Bruce can replace Ford as the back-up lefty option for Voit at 1B, but unlike Ford, he can also play games in the OF and thus provide greater roster depth. Couple his dual-position capabilities with the fact he has carried a legitimate MLB bat through his career, something Ford can never claim, and it becomes clear that this signing is likely bad news for Mike Ford.

    Regarding scenario one, I still don’t know what the Yankees are doing with Gardner, but Gardner remains the best option on the market to address certain Yankee needs. If nothing else, the Yankees can use the presence of both Bruce and Allen as negotiating leverage against Gardner. That said, a Yankee team with Gardner and Bruce is better than a Yankee team with Ford and Allen.

  2. Yanks317

    Yup, Bruce could hit 25 HRs in a full time role. Also, if Bruce has a full time roll something went really wrong for the Yankees in 2021.

  3. Dani

    I’m not gonna lie: I thought Bruce retired like 2 years ago 😀

  4. dasit

    i like it
    could see him having a True Yankee Moment in the post season

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