UPDATE: The Phillies and Mariners announced the trade. Seattle sends Jay Bruce and cash considerations to Philadelphia in exchange for minor-league infielder Jake Scheiner.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners are no stranger to trades. In fact, just this offseason, the two teams worked together on a deal that sent infielder Jean Segura and two pitchers to Philadelphia in exchange for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford. That move was one of many for the Mariners, whose offseason was highlighted by a trade involving prospects, Robinson Cano, and Jay Bruce.
Now, the Mariners have made another trade with the Phillies, this time for none other than Bruce himself.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported yesterday the trade was being finalized.
The Philadelphia Phillies are nearing a deal to acquire outfielder Jay Bruce from the Seattle Mariners, a club source familiar with the talks tells ESPN. The trade is expected to be finalized within the next 24 hours.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2019
Today, Bruce was officially informed he had been traded to Philadelphia.
While the exact return is unknown, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal hears the Mariners are likely receiving a minor leaguer and some money back from Philadelphia to cover the $21.6MM owed on Bruce’s contract through the end of 2020.
Jay Bruce to #Phillies is nearing completion, sources tell The Athletic. Deal is pending a review of Bruce’s medicals and other final details. Once completed, #Mariners will net cash savings and receive a minor leaguer in return.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 2, 2019
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Phillies will be responsible for the bulk of Bruce’s remaining salary, which makes it seem like Seattle will only be receiving a low-level minor leaguer (as opposed to a top-tier prospect), as the main reason for Seattle to pull of this trade is to save money.
The Philadelphia #Phillies will assume the bulk of Jay Bruce's remaining $21.5 million in his contract when the #Mariners' Jay Bruce trade is finalized today. No team was willing to absorb as much money as the Phillies during their trade talks involving Bruce.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 2, 2019
Bruce, a former Reds first-round draft pick, is now 32 years old and, in addition to Cincinnati, has spent time in New York (with the Mets) and Seattle. Barring a release or pay cut, the 2020 season will be the year when Bruce’s lifetime baseball paychecks exceed a total of more than $100 million. Following the end of this season, Bruce will have earned just north of $90 million throughout his pro career.
The early part of the 2019 season has been held several career milestones for Bruce. This campaign, he reached personal benchmarks in runs scored (800), hits (1,400), doubles (300), home runs (300), and runs batted in (900). All of those achievements came recently, as his current respective totals for those categories are 809, 1,400, 301, 300, and 903, respectively.
Through 47 games this season, Bruce has slashed .212/.283/.533 with 28 runs batted in on 35 hits, including 14 homers, an impressive home run to hit ratio for a man who has been quiet with a bat this season. With the Phillies, Bruce will likely have a daily bench role while being a reliable candidate to serve as insurance if a starting outfielder gets injured.
As for Seattle, dealing Bruce is the first in a long list of trades to come for Seattle. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has shown he is not shy of making big moves, and this trade with Philadelphia could just be the precursor of future trades involving guys like Mike Leake, Tim Beckham, and Edwin Encarnación.