Jay Bruce is expected to be one of the more coveted bats in free agency this winter, and Jon Heyman reports a number of teams as potential suitors, specifically the Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners and Cardinals.
Bruce was recently reported to be seeking a five-year deal in the $80-90 million range after slugging 36 home runs in 2017, the second straight year he hit over 30 homers.
The Giants need offensive help in the worst way after finishing last in baseball in home runs, and 29th in runs scored. The Blue Jays were in a similar boat, finishing 26th in the league in runs scored as their offense struggled without Edwin Encarnacion and a down year for Jose Bautista.
The Blue Jays have been linked to Bruce in the past, and could be in the market for a power-hitting outfielder to help rekindle their once potent offense. The Cardinals are also in the hunt for outfield help, and are considered one of the early favorites to make the biggest offensive splash in a deal for Giancarlo Stanton. Bruce would be a serviceable Plan-B if a Stanton trade cannot be completed.
The Mariners have a decent rookie trio in their outfield in Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Mitch Haniger, but Bruce could be a valuable veteran presence should any one of the youngsters struggle in their early major league careers.
Bruce had a solid postseason in 2017, finishing with a 1.000 OPS in Cleveland’s five-game loss to the Yankees in the ALDS. He would bring playoff experience to any one of these four teams, all of whom missed out on the postseason in 2017.