The Cleveland Indians came so close to winning the World Series last season, holding a 3-1 series lead before losing to the Chicago Cubs in Game 7. They are on track to make the playoffs this season, but they don’t have the AL Central wrapped up with a four-game lead over the Kansas City Royals, with the Minnesota Twins half a game further back.
Pitching has been the strength of the Tribe this season, ranking 4th in the Majors in team ERA. Their lineup has not been bad, but not great ranking 11th in runs scored, but it recently got better trading for Jay Bruce from the New York Mets.
While Bruce does not have the best batting average this season hitting .256, he has 29 homers and 75 RBI. He will bolster the Indians lineup that has lost two outfielders to the disabled list with Michael Brantley (ankle) and Lonnie Chisenhall (calf) expected to miss significant time. Bruce will bring veteran leadership and the Indians hope his power and RBI numbers stay up to par with him switching leagues.
A steal to say the least
Bruce has outstanding numbers so far this season and ranked 4th in the National League in home runs and 12th in RBI before the trade. What did Cleveland give up for the three-time All-Star that is projected to have a season with 42 HR and 109 RBI? Not much. The Indians are taking on his salary for the rest of the season ($4.2 million) and they sent minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan to the Mets. The Mets may be free of the rest of Bruce’s contract, but Ryan was only a 30th round draft pick last year and in Class-A ball this season is only 3-4 with an ERA of 4.79 where all 33 of his appearances have come out of the bullpen.
Power numbers increase right away
Bruce’s arrival in Cleveland immediately places him at the top of the rankings for home runs on the Indians, as only he and Edwin Encarnacion (22 HR) have over 19 long balls. With Bruce and Encarnacion slated to be in the middle of the lineup, the Indians boast a fearsome power duo from both sides of the plate. Cleveland could use a jolt to their lineup as they have lost three of their last four games and in that span, they have only totalled eight runs. He will join a Cleveland outfield that only ranks 25th in the Majors in HR with 37 long balls.
Sticking it to the big boys
The Indians swooped in and traded for Bruce and the Mets were also in talks with the New York Yankees to get the experienced slugger. Bruce’s addition to the club only bolsters the Tribe’s chances of getting over the hump and winning the World Series.
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