The right fielder was constantly involved in trade rumors during the winter after the Mets elected to exercise his $13-million option as an insurance tactic before re-signing Yoenis Cespedes, but with spring training now underway and Bruce still on the roster, the outfielder no longer wants to be a talking point.
"I refuse to be a distraction in the clubhouse," Bruce said Thursday at camp, according to the New York Post's Ken Davidoff. "I'm here, and I'm happy to be here. I'm here until I'm not."
With a logjam of outfielders and evidently little playing time available for touted youngster Michael Conforto, Bruce seemed nearly guaranteed to be shipped off in the offseason, with both the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies expressing vague interest in the 29-year-old at one point.
Plans for Bruce's departure were eventually scrapped by the Mets, though, who reportedly told the slugger he would be their starting right fielder next season. Manager Terry Collins, who revealed Bruce would possibly see time at first base in spring training Wednesday, is optimistic he will shine in his first full season with the club.
"You look at his numbers, he's a much, much better player than what he showed the first month that he was (a Met)," Collins said Thursday, according to Davidoff. "I think he'll relax, and we're going to see what we thought we were going to get."