Washington is interested in adding another bat to its lineup before the trade deadline and has discussed trading for Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
On Thursday, Bruce told reporters he was open to waiving his no-trade clause if it allowed the Reds to trade him to a contending club. Bruce is able to block deals to the Marlins, Diamondbacks, Indians, Twins, Rays, Athletics, Red Sox and Yankees.
While the Nationals have a five game lead over the Mets in the National League East entering play Sunday, the club is collectively batting .251, which ranks 12th overall and fifth in the National League. However, Washington still has expressed interest in adding a bat.
Bruce, 29, is having his best season since 2013, batting .272/.319/.551 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs over 76 games.
Although the Nationals would prefer to add a right-handed hitter to their lineup, according to Rosenthal, adding Bruce could prove to be more valuable, since he can play in the outfield and at first base. Washington’s lineup already features a pair of productive left-handed hitters in Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy.
Bruce might also be the most sensible option because he played for Nationals Manager Dusty Baker in Cincinnati.
It might not take much to acquire Bruce, since he will become a free agent at the end of the season. However, the asking price might be high, since Washington could make Bruce a qualifying offer and would then receive a draft pick if he decided to sign elsewhere this winter.
If the Nationals don’t want to send major league pieces or prospects to Cincinnati, promoting Trea Turner to play center field could be a viable option. Over 78 games in Triple-A, Turner is batting .299/.372/.461 with five home runs and 32 RBIs.
The Dodgers, Giants, White Sox and Royals have all expressed interest in Bruce over the last few weeks.