It’s the midseason break and Jay Bruce still hasn’t been traded by the Cincinnati Reds. Don’t be surprised if that changes by August 1 (trade deadline), with teams like the San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals possibly going after the rightfielder.
Bruce was almost traded to the Blue Jays in the offseason, but the deal fell apart because of an injury to one of the players involved in the deal. He has done a good job of rebuilding his value this season, batting .267 with a .853 OPS, his best since the 2010 season, after a couple of rough years for him. He has hit 18 home runs and 63 RBIs so far. He had 26 home runs all of last season, and only 18 in 2014. Suddenly, moving him, with his salary of whatever remains from $12.5 million this season, and a $13 million team option in 2017, isn’t that difficult.
Bruce has a no-trade clause to a number of teams: Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics, Rays, Marlins, Twins, Indians and Diamondbacks. He has said that what he wants is to be put in a position to play for a World Series. Assuming he’s hitting free agency in a few months, the only teams on this list who might end up contending are the Red Sox, Indians and Marlins. However, both Miami and Boston don’t have any interest in outfielders in the current market, mostly looking at pitchers.
The Indians, along with teams like the Giants, Royals, Blue Jays and Nationals, could be more interested in an outfield slugger who isn’t too bad on defense, but isn’t anything special either. Bruce was selected for his third All-Star game (first time since 2012), and what teams are willing to give up for him and engage Cincinnati in trade talks depends on how they gauge his defensive abilities, or to be more accurate, his liability when he’s not on the plate.