Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is as “as good a bet as anyone” on the team to be dealt, team sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That is rather a notable viewpoint given the club’s nice collection of even shorter-term assets. Bruce, 28, is controllable for three more years (the last via option), though Rosenthal adds that he rebuffed two offers of a second extension last year. It’s hard to gauge Bruce’s trade value given his rough 2014 and slow start to this season, but he’s bounced back nicely of late. Bruce is neither old nor expensive, offers an established power bat, and has at times graded rather well on defense and on the basepaths.
- We’ve heard suggestions that the Twins could be looking at bullpen upgrades, and Rosenthal confirms that is Minnesota’s focus. One player the team could pursue is Padres righty Joaquin Benoit, per the report. The righty has been a consistent producer for some time now, and can be controlled for 2016 through a team option.
- The Tigers should look to take out two needs with one move, argues Chris Iott of MLive.com. Dealing for a starter while shifting Alfredo Simon to the pen would upgrade both sides of the staff, suggests Iott.
- While the Cardinals still have some padding, their NL Central lead is beginning to dwindle. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argues that St. Louis is in need of a move or two to capitalize on its nice first half. Miklasz says it’s time to add some punch to the lineup, noting that first base is the obvious area for an acquisition with Matt Adams out.
- Miklasz does mention the possibility of shifting well-regarded outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty to first, and indeed colleague Derrick Goold indicates on Twitter that Piscotty could soon get a shot in the big leagues. The 24-year-old was nearly called up on Tuesday, and will now spend time at first at Triple-A to get ready for just that possibility. In his second run through Memphis this year, Piscotty owns a .270/.362/.471 slash with 10 home runs over 340 plate appearances. He has walked 41 times while making just 52 outs via strikeout.