Any team looking to add offense this July will be taking a look at Jay Bruce in Cincinnati. Slashing .279/.325/.569, he lags behind only breakout star Adam Duvall in SLG on the Reds roster, with 17 HR and 59 RBI. In the last year of a six-year, $51 million deal (with a $13 million option for 2017), Bruce is exactly the type of player a team in the opposite position as the floundering Reds would take on as they attempt to contend into late summer.
And Bruce, to his credit, is more open to switching to a contender than ever, having lifted his self-ban on being traded to eight particular MLB teams, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.
Bruce said on Thursday he is open to any deal, including to any of the eight clubs that are listed in his contract's limited no-trade clause. That list includes the Yankees, Red Sox, A's, Rays, Marlins, Twins, Indians and D-backs.
Back in spring training, the Reds had seemed to lock up a deal that would send Bruce to Toronto, but medical issues with a player headed to Cincinnati in the deal sent the whole thing off the rails. It also just seemed unfair to add a hitter like Bruce to a lineup like Toronto’s, merely on principle.
But now is the time when teams will be even more desperate for that last burst of offense, and Bruce is capable of providing it. Like most players, the 29-year-old Bruce would prefer to go to a team that is more likely to end the season jubilantly piling on each other than, say, the Reds. As a lefty, Bruce could fit rather seamlessly into Cleveland’s outfield, one of the few contenders on his newly revised list. The Marlins’ acquisition of Fernando Rodney made it clear they view themselves as buyers at the deadline, and the Red Sox are trying to remain within nipping distance of the Orioles in the AL East.
In any case, Bruce, despite saying he was fine staying in Cinicnnati, has made himself easier to move for the Reds, who now have the opportunity to bring in some much-needed assets in return for his bat. In doing so, the team will potentially send him to a more successful situation in the middle of his return to form from last season. There is no shortage of contenders (or former contenders) who already have Bruce’s name on their shopping lists, with the Giants, Dodgers, White Sox, and Royals all having been mentioned at some point as having interest in him this season.