Though the MLB trade deadline was on July 31, teams can still make deals involving players who have passed through waivers.
Therefore, there's still time for teams with playoff aspirations to make moves that will help them down the stretch.
That's what the Cleveland Indians did this week, acquiring slugging left-handed outfielder Jay Bruce from the New York Mets in exchange for minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan.
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For Bruce, leaving the 51-61 Mets to play for the 60-52 Indians is a big boost as he heads toward an offseason in which he'll be a free agent. He told ESPN.com that he's thrilled to be in the middle of a playoff race once again:
"You can't ask for anything else, honestly, to come to a team of this caliber in the position they're in," Bruce said. "This team is awesome. They were awesome without me, and I hope to just add a little bit to it, not try to be Superman, not try to do anything other than what I can do and be myself.
"I think that's what they want, and I look forward to helping us get deep, deep into the playoffs."
At 60-52, the Indians currently hold a 3.5-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central division, while the Mets are currently in third place in the NL East, trailing the division-leading Washington Nationals by a whopping 16.5 games.
In 103 games for the Mets this year, Bruce hit .256 with 29 home runs and 75 RBI. He can play both outfield and first base, something Cleveland manager Terry Francona says will help the Indians as they deal with outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley being on the disabled list at the moment:
"It gives you a little bounce in your step," Francona said. "He is a really good run producer, and to add him to your lineup is really going to help."
Bruce and his new teammates have some work to do, though. Even though they lead their division, the Indians are significantly behind the other AL division leaders in the win column, as the Houston Astros in the AL West have a 71-43 record and the Boston Red Sox in the AL East sport a mark of 65-49.
In his first game with the Indians on Thursday, Bruce was used as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Though he popped out in his first Cleveland at-bat, he makes the team's offense much more dangerous heading into the stretch run.
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