The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking for some big left handed hitting, specifically honing in on Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds. If that doesn’t work out, they’ll be willing to settle for Josh Reddick of the Oakland Athletics or Kole Calhoun of the Los Angeles Angels.
The Dodgers, 41-35, are trailing the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Their hitting had been inconsistent, and they’ve been specifically having a problem with Yasiel Puig, who might have an elite glove, but his hitting continues to decline after a great start to his major league career. The 25-year old who plays mostly rightfield is hitting only .254 this season (career low), with a .296 OBP and just .679 OPS, and it looks like he doesn’t have a way to get out of his funk.
The thinking behind bringing in someone like Bruce is for him to face right handed pitchers, although Bruce doesn’t have an issue with southpaws. He’s a problem on defense, and his OPS is a lot better at home, playing in the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ballpark. Hitting is a bit more difficult in Dodger Stadium, but Bruce has been doing well this year after the Reds failed to trade him during the offseason, pushing his trade value back up.
Hitting .280 with a .903 OPS and 16 home runs (57 RBIs), Bruce is erasing the impression of his 2014-2015 stretch, hitting only .222 with a .288 OBP and .695 OPS with 44 home runs. The Reds almost had a three-team deal completed for him, but an injury to one of the minor pieces in the transaction made the trade collapse, and kept Bruce on the Reds. Despite all of their losing, his return to hitting form is great news, as they’ve not given up on trading him.
Bruce is on a deal that looks better and better as well. He makes $12.5 million in 2016, and there’s a team option worth $13 million, with a $1 million buyout, for 2017. He’s roughly owed only $6.4 million for the rest of this season, making the potential deal look even better, especially when the Dodgers have the deep pockets and the deep farm system to make something work. The Dodgers, hitting only .237/.308/.386 as a team this season, ranking in the bottom third of the majors in most offensive categories, are probably going to get more and more aggressive pretty soon.
If it’s not Bruce, there are other options they’re looking at: Reddick in Oakland, Calhoun from the Angles. Reddick is actually looking to get extended by the A’s, but maybe some moneyball magic tells them he’s better off traded. Reddick, 29, is hitting .322 this season with a .860 OPS and five home runs so far, becoming a free agent at the end of the season. Calhoun, 28, is batting .292 with 10 home runs in a disappointing season for the Angles, who want to start moving players, but maybe not to their city rivals. Calhoun isn’t a free agent until the 2020 season, and is making $3.4 million in 2016.