The Philadelphia Phillies added some veteran outfield depth on Sunday when they acquired Jay Bruce from the Seattle Mariners.
Philadelphia will absorb most of Bruce’s remaining $21.5 million over the next two seasons of his contract.
Bruce, 32, was slashing .212/.283/.533 in his first season with the Seattle Mariners as he’s become a feast-or-famine-like hitter. Of his 35 hits this season, 14 of them were home runs along with 28 RBI in 47 games.
He was traded to the Mariners this winter from the New York Mets in a package deal that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Phillies’ NL East rivals.
Bruce has been one of the more underrated power bats throughout his career, mainly with the Cincinnati Reds.
He eclipsed the 20-home-run mark in 10 of his first 11 seasons, including five 30-home-run seasons during that stretch.
Just two seasons ago, Bruce mashed a career-best 36 round trippers with the Mets and Cleveland Indians before returning to Queens in 2018. Injuries shortened his campaign to just 94 games where he hit just nine home runs.
Bruce’s bat provides another power option for the Phillies, who have seen some inconsistencies within the offense throughout 2019. The lefty is expected to boost the team’s miserable pinch-hitting situation while getting starts in left field against right-handed pitchers.
Putting him in a hitter’s venue like Citizens Bank Park could see Bruce’s homer-heavy season experience an even greater uptick. In 158 career plate appearances in Philadelphia, he’s batting .294 with 10 homers and a .914 OPS
However, it is a sizable investment for a team that has other needs, especially on the mound. The Phillies bullpen has been decimated by injuries while the starting rotation lacks depth.
Expect the Phillies to remain a major player on the market to address those needs the closer things get to the league’s trade deadline at the end of July.