Shortly after outfielder Jay Bruce learned he was headed back to Ohio to join the Cleveland Indians, news surfaced that the New York Yankees were also involved in negotiations for the 30-year-old slugger.

Many reporters around the sport were in on the action, including Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network provided further details about the proposed deal early Thursday morning.

As both reporters pointed out, the Yankees did not want to soak up the full $3.7 million owed to Bruce this season which essentially opened the door for Cleveland. New York’s payroll currently sits at $225.2 million, well above the 2017 luxury tax threshold of $195 million. With that being said, the club is clearly facing luxury-tax concerns as they will have to pay 50% for every dollar spent above the threshold.

In the end, the New York Mets chose to do business with the AL Central leading Indians and received pitching prospect Ryder Ryan along with Bruce’s salary compensation. Ryder is currently playing at the Single-A level and owns a 4.79 ERA over 33 relief appearances. The prospects offered by the Yankees have not been disclosed.

The Mets’ decision to deal the three-time All Star to Cleveland instead of their cross-town rivals appeared to many fans as more of a financial decision than a baseball decision. However, general manager Sandy Alderson says the team’s decision was not purely based on money.

“Our goal was not to save money, Alderson told the New York Daily News. Our goal, I think I said this a few weeks ago, one of the primary motivations was to create playing time opportunities for other players. So that has continued to be a goal of ours.”

No matter what the Mets’ true motivation was for the deal, the Yankees’ interest in Bruce shows Brian Cashman and company believe the club could use another power bat to jump start their rather dormant offense.

Assuming Bruce would’ve slotted in at right field and DH with the Bombers, his arrival would, and still does, highlight the team’s concerns with Matt Holliday and Aaron Judge.

Despite Holliday’s success during the first few months of the season, the 37-year-old has struggled mightily since his return from a viral infection mid-July. He’s slashing a mere .136/.165/.198 with one home run and four RBI in 81 at-bats since the All Star break. Holliday is currently on the club’s 10-day disabled list with a left lumbar strain.

Judge, on the other hand, has been mired in a tremendous slump of his own since the season’s second half got underway. In 87 at-bats, the rookie is hitting .172 with five homers, 12 RBI and 40 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Judge’s strikeout numbers have been reminiscent of last year’s as he’s fanned in 26 consecutive games entering Friday. It appears the league is beginning to adjust to Judge’s power stroke so the Yankees are hoping the youngster can make his own adjustments and get back to slamming 450 ft. homers on a regular basis.

With Bruce already taking at-bats in an Indians uniform, the Yanks will have to correct their offensive woes without further reinforcements.

The Yankees will take on the Bruce-less Mets in a four-game Subway series starting on August 14 in the Bronx.

Matt Weller covers the New York Yankees as a staff writer for Outside Pitch MLB. You can follow him on Twitter or contact him via email here.

About The Author

Matt Weller
OutsidePitchMLB Blue Jays Writer

Matt Weller is a true baseball junkie hailing from the small lake town of Ringwood, New Jersey. As a journalism graduate of Susquehanna University, Matt served as a sports section writer for the campus newspaper, as well as a DJ and pro sports talk show host for 88.9 WQSU. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and aspires to one day make a career of covering the team. When he's not covering the MLB for Outside Pitch, you can find Matt stuffing his face with bacon, petting as many dogs as possible, or slamming his PlayStation controller in frustration. Follow him on Twitter @MattWeller973 and contact via email at [email protected]

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