When Jay Bruce has been on the field for the Philadelphia Phillies, he’s been a power-hitting bat that the team can expect extra-base hits from. But staying on the field has been the biggest obstacle for the 33-year-old since he was acquired by the team in June of 2019.
In the 83 games that he’s played for the team, the left-handed hitter has slugged .494 with 18 home runs. At the same time, Bruce has been placed on the injured list five times as a Phillie.
Bruce will be one of the more interesting Phillies players to become a free agent this offseason. While the Phillies could certainly use that kind of power bat, Bruce’s age and history of injuries could hold the team back from re-signing him.
Assuming the DH remains in the National League going forward, the Phillies would most likely need to use that spot in the lineup for some returning starters. Andrew McCutchen was not as sharp in left field coming off an ACL tear, and could see more time at DH in 2021. First baseman Rhys Hoskins will be returning from UCL surgery, and may not be fully ready to play the field early next season. So while Bruce can play both first base and left field, and has been surprisingly good in the field — he’s posted eight defensive runs saved in left field over the last two seasons — the Phillies may wish to go with an option that is more durable in the field.
Still, Bruce is a dangerous bat in the middle-to-bottom of a batting order when he is penciled in there. The Phillies have relied heavily on those types of hitters over the past two seasons in players like Bruce or Brad Miller. And as long as Bruce is on the field, he is capable of making an impact with his bat.
Perhaps the injury concerns cause the Phillies to look elsewhere, but the team could use the power of a player like Bruce. If the price is right, maybe he remains in Philadelphia for at least another season.
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