The Blue Jays “may still be the team most likely” to acquire Reds outfielder Jay Bruce this month, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Toronto had a deal in place for Bruce in late February, but it fell through due to injury concerns about a minor-leaguer involved in the deal.
It’s unclear where Bruce would fit for the Jays, as they have Michael Saunders, Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera currently in their outfield mix as Jose Bautista continues rehabbing a big toe injury. Edwin Encarnacion is entrenched at designated hitter, though the Jays could simply opt to rotate its offensive-minded options if a deal for Bruce is completed.
Bruce has been linked to the Dodgers, Indians, Nationals and Giants so far this year, but the Jays’ interest was not known until now. Toronto has been trying to acquire the veteran for a full year, and considered him at the trade deadline last season before backing off due to worries that he would not waive his no-trade clause for a deal to Toronto.
Bruce has consistently said that he would be open to waiving his limited no-trade clause for a chance to go to a contender, with a source close to him saying today that he “wants to win.” The Jays are no longer on the list of eight teams he can block deals to, though the Indians are.
Bruce, 29, has posted a .268/.317/.546 line with 18 home runs in 80 games for the Reds this season. He is considered likely to be traded before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline.