Update: The medical problem isn’t in regards to Saunders, but with one of the minor league players the Blue Jays are trying to ship off. For now, without anyone else involved in the deal, there’s nothing happening, but now other teams may be approaching the Reds knowing what it takes to get Bruce.
Just when the Cincinnati Reds were about to finally get rid of Jay Bruce in a three team trade involving the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels, a medical problem with one of the players involved in the deal, probably Michael Saunders.
The entire ordeal, which developed quickly in one afternoon and for a while went on under everyone’s noses, involves Bruce going to the Blue Jays, Saunders joining the Angels and the Reds getting a prospect (not a quality one) from each team. But Saunders played just nine games last season due to left knee problems, and it seems that the same issue is stopping this deal from being made, and for now it’s dead in the water unless some changes are made to the details.
The Reds have been busy moving players heading into their rebuild since the middle of last season. Bruce has been one of those that’s been very difficult for them to find a partner for due to his poor performance in the last two years (batting just .222 after four straight years of .252 or better) but he still has power, hitting 26 home runs even on a bad season. His salary; $12.5 million in 2016 and a team option of $13 million in 2017, didn’t help either.
But the Reds found a way to get it done, as the Blue Jays needs someone in left field, not really counting on Saunders anymore. Saunders makes just $2.9 million in 2016 which makes him easy to move, and he could have been helpful to the Angels, but right now it doesn’t matter, as his knee issues are keeping the trade from completion. Bruce also had left knee issues in the past, repairing a torn meniscus in his left knee in May 2014.
The Reds have been able to trade away Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Marlon Byrd, Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman over the last year, building themselves towards competing again in 2017, but pretty much tanking in 2016. Bruce had a no-trade clause that included the Blue Jays, but he removed that restriction few months ago. He still can’t be traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays.