The Cleveland Indians are done signing players, at least through free agency in moves that cost them a lot of money. But they are open for trades, discussing Jay Bruce with the Cincinnati Reds lately.
Bruce isn’t going to come cheaply, making $12.5 million next season and comes with a $13 million team option in 2017 and a $1 million buyout. It does kick the Indians into the $100 million salary stratosphere they’re trying to avoid, but they could ask the Reds to take a part of paying his salary. While the Reds have been dumping anyone who costs them money, seeing how difficult it is to move Bruce they’ll probably take the deal, maybe even if it doesn’t land them too many prospects, something the Indians aren’t too keen to give up.
The Indians are going after an outfielder, and those on the market seem to be too expensive or not good enough. The Indians aren’t afraid to give up that number one pick they’d be forced to hand over in case they do make some surprising free agency signing, but right now they’re not competitors for some of the bigger names out there. Bruce, despite his struggles when it comes to his batting average over the last two seasons, might be the best solution.
The 28-year old right fielder was an All-Star in 2011-2012 and a Silver Slugger award winner in 2012-2013, but has hit just .222 over the last two season with a .695 OPS. Last season was an improvement and he did hit 26 home runs. While he’s done better in avoiding his striking out issues, he doesn’t get on base as often as he did, and next season will be a huge test for the rest of his career. Two bad seasons at his age? You can shake that off. Three consecutive bad seasons? It’s hard to find someone to throw big money at you like that.