Red Sox Free Agent Targets: Top 5 available hitters

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 27: J.D. Martinez /
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CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 06: Jay Bruce (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 06: Jay Bruce (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Jay Bruce

The Cleveland Indians acquired Bruce in a mid-season trade with the New York Mets to bolster their lineup for a playoff run. After the Tribe bowed out early with an ALDS loss, it’s unclear if they will be willing to pay up to retain him.

Bruce hit .254/.324/.508 over 146 games with the Mets and Indians. His 36 home runs tied for 15th in the majors. While that set a new career-high, Bruce had hit 30+ homers four other times in his career and remains a solid bet to sustain that level.

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With Bruce, the Red Sox would find themselves in a similar dilemma that was previously discussed in regards to Upton. Where do you put him? He has primarily played right field in his career but Boston obviously isn’t asking Mookie Betts to move after he’s established himself as the best defensive player in the game at that position.

They could ask Bruce to shift over to left field, a position he’s played only 11 times in his career. This would mean sliding Benintendi to center, so as was the case in the Upton example, it may only make sense if Bradley gets traded to open a spot in the outfield.

Bruce also some experience at first base, so a transition to the infield is a possibility if he’s open to it. He could also DH, although he’s still a solid defensive outfielder and may not agree to sign with Boston if that were his only path to playing time.