Jay Bruce going back to New York Mets

Cleveland Indians Jay Bruce answers questions after Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians Thursday Oct. 5 2017 in Cleveland. The Indians won 4-0

Free agent outfielder Jay Bruce has returned to the New York Mets on a 3-year, $39 million deal, according to multiple reports after spending the end of the season with the Cleveland Indians.

The Mets acquired Bruce from the Reds in a midseason trade in 2016, but he initially struggled in the Big Apple, batting.219 with eight home runs in 50 games.

It was the first real splash made in free agency by the Amazins this winter. Bruce performed well in the postseason, hitting two home runs and driving in four in the ALDS. In 2017, he batted.254/.324/.508, had 29 doubles, two triples, 36 home runs, and drove in 101 runs with both teams.

Since late last season, the Mets had signaled that their payroll would go down from their team-record $155 million on opening day of the 2017 season. First baseman Carlos Santana signed with Philadelphia for $60 million over three years, and closer Wade Davis got $52 million over three years from Colorado.

In a slow off-season for free agents, the Mets were always interested in re-signing Bruce, and they moved aggressively on Wednesday to complete the deal.

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This much is clear: The focus will stay on the lineup, with last month's addition of free-agent reliever Anthony Swarzak likely to stand as the only notable offseason pitching acquisition. Team officials have spoken in recent days to Jay Bruce's agent, and a reunion with the veteran outfielder remains a possibility.

They know what they are getting in Bruce. He was acquired from Cincinnati in 2016 and played 50 games for NY that season, followed by 103 games in 2017 before coming to the Tribe.

As the offseason began, Bruce was reportedly seeking a five-year contract and was linked to the Giants and Astros.

The Indians acquired Bruce from the Mets on August 9, one day after left fielder Michael Brantley suffered a sprained left ankle, for Lake County Captains relief pitcher Ryder Ryan.