LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jay Bruce is going from last place to the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies.
The former All-Star was traded by the Seattle Mariners on Sunday in a deal that will cost the Phillies just $2.75 million over the next 1½ seasons.
“I get to go somewhere I have a chance to win,” the 32-year-old outfielder said, “and at this point in my career, that’s pretty paramount for me.”
As part of the deal, Seattle agreed to pay the Phillies $18,567,204 next Jan. 15, offsetting most of the $21,317,204 remaining in the $39 million, three-year contract Bruce agreed to with the New York Mets in January 2018.
Bruce is owed $8,317,204 this year from his $13 million salary and has a $13 million salary in 2020. The Mets remain responsible for the second $1.5 million installment of his $3 million signing bonus, a payment due next Jan. 31.
Philadelphia sent the Mariners minor league infielder Jake Scheiner, who will report to Class A Modesto.
Bruce will join the Phillies for Monday’s game at San Diego. He is hitting .212 with 14 homers and 28 RBIs, striking out 53 times in 184 at-bats.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I really like the group of guys here. I got to know some of them and had great relationships. It’s part of the business, though.”
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins welcomed news of the trade.
“Obviously that’s an exciting move, another veteran guy, a guy who’s done it in some big situations in the playoffs, another left-handed guy, a guy who knows the game,” he said. “Comfortable in a ton of different roles and from everything I’ve heard he’s a great dude. My guess is he’ll fit right in here.”
A three-time All-Star for Cincinnati in 2011, ’12 and ’16, Bruce was acquired by the Mets from the Reds on Aug. 1, 2016, traded to Cleveland on Aug. 9, 2017, then became a free agent and returned to the Mets.
He hit just .223 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 94 games last year, when he was sidelined from mid-June until late August because of a sore right hip. New York traded him to Seattle in December as part of the deal in which the salary-shedding Mariners sent second baseman Robinson Canò and closer Edwin Díaz to the Mets.
Now, Bruce returns to the National League.
“We believe he’ll be able to operate in either corner,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “I know he hasn’t played a ton of first base in his career, but we think for a short period he’d be fine over there, too.”
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Bruce would be used both off the bench and as a starter.
“Jay Bruce makes our bench stronger and I also think he makes our lineup stronger on days when we’ll see a right-handed pitcher,” he said.
Philadelphia outfielder Odubel Herrera was placed on administrative leave by the commissioner’s office Tuesday under the sport’s domestic violence policy after his arrest in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“Our outfield depth has been compromised in the first couple months of the year, and we think it’s important for us to address that,” Klentak said. “Sometimes it’s just as important to solidify your bench and to build depth and make sure that when the inevitable happens — you don’t know what it’s going to be or who it’s going to be or how it’s going to happen — you try to protect yourself as well as you can.”
Bruce’s last hit with Seattle was memorable, his 300th home run on Friday, against the Los Angeles Angels. He is one of eight active players with at least 300 home runs and 300 doubles.
Seattle recalled outfielder Braden Bishop from Triple-A Tacoma.
The 23-year-old Scheiner, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft, hit .256 with two homers and 20 RBIs at Class A Clearwater.
Associated Press free writer Erik Erickson in Seattle contributed to this report.
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