Most of the attention in the upcoming trade deadline is going to pitchers, but Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds, a right fielder, is getting plenty of it, with the Cincinnati Reds currently entertaining interest from the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and even the Cleveland Indians.
The interest from the Indians might be fading after Yan Gomes hit the DL, which means their main concerns right now could be with catcher and possibly some bullpen arms. Bruce doesn’t fill those needs, and might be stepping into a crowded outfield situation, unless they plan on using him as a DH. Still, with Gomes going down, the Indians are the least likely of the five-team shortlist to make a deal with the Reds for Bruce.
Everyone else is quite open for business, although the Dodgers have been linked to several starting pitchers, while the Rangers are also looking to improve their bullpen situation. Everyone, in any case, could use a bit more firepower from the outfield, even with the defensive weaknesses that Bruce has, although the numbers in that regard might be lying a little bit. He isn’t great, but he isn’t terrible, and teams could do worse, or simply ignore it if his offensive output continues.
The Reds tried moving Bruce during the offseason but couldn’t coming off two bad years (.222 batting, .695 OPS, 44 home runs). This season, however, with the Reds in full tanking mode, things seem to be quite different. The Reds are getting calls for Bruce, with his contract no longer a problem: He’s making $12.5 million this season, which means half is already out of the picture, and the team option of $13 million next season makes him an attractive asset if he keeps hitting like this, or simply cutting him solves the problem.
An All-Star for the third time in his career, Bruce is batting .265 this season, his best since 2010, while hitting 18 home runs for 64 RBIs, and his OPS (.850) is the best of his career. Bruce wants to play for a contender, the Reds want him off their books and to try and salvage something, a decent prospect or maybe two, in the process. There seem to be willing buyers, now all that needs to be agreed upon is the price.