JULY 27: The Mariners are among the teams that have reached out the Reds to inquire about Bruce, Crasnick reports today (Twitter link). Seattle’s offseason addition of Nori Aoki has yet to pay dividends, causing the Mariners to rely more heavily on Franklin Gutierrez and Nelson Cruz in the outfield than the team initially expected.
JULY 26: The Reds have “picked up the pace” on trade talks surrounding slugging right fielder Jay Bruce and are talking to “at least” four teams, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). Cincinnati is seeking a top prospect in exchange for Bruce, who is in the midst of an outstanding rebound campaign at the plate.
Bruce, 29, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery early in the 2014 season and never looked like himself upon his return that year or in 2015. Over those two seasons, Bruce batted a paltry .222/.288/.406 with a combined 44 home runs, submarining a great deal of his trade value in the process (though Cincinnati still nearly moved him to Toronto in Spring Training). The 2016 season, however, has yielded a revitalized version of Bruce that is slashing an excellent .272/.326/.564 with 23 homers, 22 doubles and six triples. His 20.6 percent strikeout rate is the second-lowest of his career, and 20.9 percent homer-to-flyball ratio and 37.5 percent hard-contact rate are the best single-season marks he’s ever posted.
Where Bruce has seemingly struggled, though, is on the outfield grass. Despite sporting a park- and league-adjusted batting line that is 29 percent above league average, per wRC+, and 32 percent above league average, per OPS+, defensive metrics feel that Bruce has mitigated the majority of the value provided by his bat. Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved both peg Bruce as 12 runs below the league average right fielder, dinging him for both his range and his arm. Bruce graded out as a serviceable, if not above-average fielder last season, though, and he rated among the game’s top defenders in right field back in 2013 as well (prior to his knee surgery). Scouts, of course, will have their own take on Bruce’s glovework, and it’s certainly possible that there are evaluators out there that find such metrics to overstate Bruce’s statistical deficiencies this season. And, even if on is to believe that Bruce’s defensive game has dramatically deteriorated, his resurgent bat makes plenty of sense for an American League club that can give him significant time in the DH slot.
Bruce is earning $12.5MM this season — of which about $4.71MM remains — and has what now looks to be a reasonably priced $13MM club option on his contract as well. Bruce’s six-year, $51MM extension provides him with the ability to block trades to eight clubs, but he’s reportedly willing to waive his no-trade protection in order to play for a contending club. He’s been connected to the Dodgers, Orioles, Giants, Nationals, Rangers and Indians in the past week, and Toronto has been mentioned multiple times as a potential fit. More recent reports, though, have indicated that Cleveland isn’t in the mix for Bruce at this time. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, acquired Melvin Upton Jr. earlier today.
I know it’s not the most popular destination but why not the Astros. They have the prospects and need to move on from Rasmus and Gomez. And he’s a local guy. Move a few of their prospects and I think the Reds could get a good haul.
Would T.Kemp and T.Hernandez be too much to ask if the Reds also took Rasmus back to even out the salaries?
The Astros are definitely a good match for the Reds, also Bruce is from Beaumont, Texas, about 90 miles from Houston. Kyle Tucker, Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, and Teoscar Hernandez are among the prospects who may interest the Reds.
I really doubt they’d look to acquire Tony Kemp, with Brandon Phillips refusing to waive his 10/5 rights. It’s unclear if Cozart can be traded, and SS/2b/CF/LF Jose Peraza – younger than Kemp – is already riding the bench, despite playing more (same plus SS) positions than Kemp. I like Kemp, but I just don’t see him fitting with the Reds.
We haven’t seen any indications that the Reds are looking to take on salaries for better prospects. Sure that makes sense in theory, but…
The common expectation in Reds country is that the Reds are looking to acquire hitters in a deal, particularly outfielders.
The Reds also acquired another undersized contact hitting 2b/OF in the offseason in 25 year old Tony Renda. Tony Kemp is a higher rated and better, but nevertheless similar prospect… as another reason why I don’t see Kemp fitting with the Reds right now.
I just don’t see the Astros as really needing another left handed hitting corner outfielder (they already have Rasmus as the primary leftfielder and Preston Tucker for when Springer needs a break). There is no way that Bruce steals time from George Springer in right field. The Astros have other needs that would probably take priority over adding another outfielder.
I really hope the Dodgers get this guy. He’s having s good year and he kills it at Dodgers stadium. Howie is a must in left field the way he is hitting so it would be nice to have a permanent player in RF
Bruce for Alex Verdugo would be an ideal trade for the Reds, that’d probably blow other offers out of the water. Austin Barnes could be an appealing part of a package, helping to move Devin Mesoraco to the outfield.
only way Verdugo gets traded is if he’s in a package for Sale or Archer….he won’t be traded for a rental
Bruce has a $13m team option for 2017 (or $1m buyout), he’s more than a rental. He can be traded again in the offseason, if desired.
Honestly if that’s what it takes then let’s get it done. We need the guy and I’ll lose my mind if we do nothing this trade line and let the Giants keep getting stronger while we add starting pitching that nobody else wants. This to me is the guy we need. I would like to get him more than any other player out there. I think he would fit perfectly.
If the royals don’t sell could that be a possibility ? Maybe for Jorge bonifacio and a little more ?
Could happen because Moore says nit going to dismantle team. Hooefully tonight with Cashner/other Trades.
I don’t understand why the Dodgers are reportedly pursuing. don’t they already have a plethora of outfielders??
Yes and no. Kendrick/Pederson/Puig is plenty fine, but an underperforming/injured Van Slyke, and a still injured Ethier, has led to guys like Will Venable getting game time.
Kendrick is still best served in a utility role, rather than a full-time left fielder. There’s room for improvement.
Maybe to KC for Jorge Bonifacio and more ?
RF Jorge Bonifacio and resurgent 3b Hunter Dozier seem like about all the Royals system has to offer.
Bonifacio sounds like a corner outfield power bat with a good arm who strikes out too much, which sounds a little like Adam Duvall. I don’t know, I’d just be a little surprised if they targeted Bonifacio.
A new 3b (like Dozier) would have to be better than Eugenio Suarez TODAY, and that job is presumably being kept warm until recent #2 overall pick Nick Senzel is ready (2018?).
Yeah I realized after that Bonifacio strikes out way to much, so maybe something with Starling and Ramon Torres. Bruce will most likely bring back two top 30 talents within the Org. And I think the reds are set on pitching (prospects) although you can never have enough
I would imagine that Bruce to the Rangers could be a possibility.. I know the Rays are looking for Profar in return for any of their big 3, but with the health issues in the OF and now Gallo called up to play 1B, moving Profar for a middle of the lineup bat may be the move.
Bruce to Boston for Basabe and Rei. Bruce can push Holt back to super utility this year and slide to DH next year.
reds don’t need anymore catchers they have bernhardt Cabrera mesoroco and Tyler Stephenson
Barnhart is probably better used as a backup catcher. Despite his minor league Gold Glove he’s been graded very poorly for pitch framing. His bat isn’t terrible, but it also doesn’t particularly stand out.
Mesoraco missed most of last year with hip surgery, now he’s out for the year with shoulder surgery… and surgery on his OTHER hip for good measure. His standing as a catcher is, at best, unclear. He’s certainly hugely injury prone.
Tyler Stephenson is ~19, and in A ball. He’s barely a factor, even if he becomes a superstar he’s years from that. He’s probably at LEAST three years from making the majors. The Reds also recently drafted college catcher Chris Okey, who’s probably also a couple of years away.
I’m a fan of Ramon Cabrera, but he is what he is – a mediocre contact hitter who isn’t very highly regarded offensively and has no power. He’s definitely more than a passable backup – if he were DFA’d he’d be an improvement to several teams – but I don’t think he’s a really locked up his job, and eliminated interest in upgrades.
From what I’ve read Austin Barnes is a strong defensive catcher who can walk about as much as he strikes out, get on base, AND field competently at 2b/3b. If acquired by the Reds I’d start him over Tucker Barnhart… and his defensive versatility allows him to potentially retain regular playing time even if Devin Mesoraco returns behind the plate. If Mesoraco gets hurt again, fine, Barnes and Barnhart would make a nice alternative.
The Reds don’t NEED anymore catchers. But I think Austin Barnes is a guy they could find room for if he was available in a package, who’d upgrade their catching/infield situation. His defensive versatility makes him the perfect 3rd catcher to have on the roster with an unpredictable Devin Mesoraco.
reds don’t need anymore catchers they have bernhardt Cabrera mesoroco and Tyler Stephenson
We have Benintendi if we need an OF so no thank you
Trading for Bruce would allow the Red Sox to take their time with Benintendi this year and he could replace Bruce next year when Ortiz retires.
How about Benintendy
reds don’t need anymore catchers they have bernhardt Cabrera mesoroco and Tyler Stephenson
Bruce to the Giants. Makes even more sense with the clubs currently playing each other.
Bad park for Bruce to continue his HR production. Yes, he has the power, but that RCF cavern would suck up a lot of Bruce’s HR’s. Plus, Pence is due back in a week or two…..where do you put him / Bruce……since they are both RF’s?
Are you serious kbarr? Bruce has 3 HRs in the series (they’re in SF.)
Make it 4
Before hitting 3HRs in 2 days at AT&T, Bruce had an .860 lifetime OPS at that park.
The Mariners? I mean, Bruce would be cool.
Bruce is so terrible defensively that any team looking to use him in the field would be making a big mistake
He currently has a – 1.7 Defensive WAR which is awful
Yes, judging someone by his defensive stats to say he sucks is the best thing to do. OR you could actually watch the Reds and see he’s not great out there, but nowhere near as bad as the numbers show. He has a fantastic arm still that teams do not run on. His numbers have fallen off a cliff defensively because of Billy Hamilton.
Jay Bruce has had some drop off in defense. No where near how people and media has stated. I’m not a believer in WAR. If you watch him daily you would disagree with the hype as well. He’s lost a step but fundamentally sound. It as a Reds fan hate to see him go but I understand the business.
Mariners are in on Bruce? What about Bruce+Cozart for T.Walker+Zunino+O’Neill?
I couldn’t see the M’s trading Walker for Bruce straight up. But adding Zunino and O’Neil for Bruce and Cozart would never happen. My guess would be DJ Petersen and a lower level prospect like Dan Altavilla.
Yeah if the trade for Bruce happens it will be Peterson lower level prospects
Lulz that would be a horrendous underpay. Bruce is going to net the Reds at the minimum a top 100 prospect.
Why don’t you look up Luiz Gohara then look at DJ Peterson who is mlb ready and maybe another A pitcher and then you can lulz all you want
I could see a package revolving around Zunino working. Seattle really doesn’t have room for him and the Reds have an opportunity for a young catcher to at a minimum split time with Barnhart.
Zunino is the M’s only viable catching prospect, he’s great defensively and has tons of power. There in talk of Seattle looking to deal Iannetta to find playing time for MZ.
Maybe to Ms for O’Neill or Peterson plus lower valued prospect (s)?
I’m not sure I get the appeal of Jay Bruce.. Does Seattle need a mediocre power hitter with subpar speed and defense who doesn’t consistently get on base? They could DH him but then Cruz is back in the outfield.. Move along, Dipoto. Nothing to see here.
mediocre power he’s he a hr in the last 5 games and his defense is Alot better than people think has a cannon for an arm
Ok, if he’s going to the M’s in a package, let’s look at this thing realistically for a moment. Jerry Dipoto has already said that he’s not going to trade away Taijuan Walker a couple of days ago, followed up by this, “who are we going to get that’s better than Walker? It’s not out there.” So Taijuan is automatically off of the table.
Next up Mike Zunino, the #3 overall draft pick of 2013. He’s young, controllable, has a plus arm behind the plate, top 5 defense, and one of the top 3 in pitch framing for stealing strikes. not to mention 55-60 power at the dish. And he’s ONLY 23 years. old. He’s the Mariners catcher of the future. Ianetta is 34, and was formerly with Dipoto in Colorado and Anaheim. He’s a serviceable journeyman who has clearly been an upgrade over what we had last year behind the plate. No way will Dipoto sell this LOW on Zunino this soon. It’s WAY too early! Ianetta is a stop gap until Mike is ready, which is why he was given all the time in the world at AAA, to refine and work on his swing, to work on breaking and offspeed pitches. So far, and it’s early, the benefits looks to have paid off. They’ll definitely wait to see what they have.
Finally, we have DJ Peterson and Tyler O’Neill. O’Neill is the best prospect in the M’s system. He has all the tools you look for in a corner outfielder with 30 homerun potential. While he does tend to strikeout a lot, he’s cut back on his strikeouts this year while upping his walk rate. Still far from major league average, but if he keeps up the improvement rate, you’re looking at a bonafide, major leaguer with fringe All-Star potential for his ceiling. I’m not sure what Dipoto’s stance is on keeping certain players, but if I were the Reds, I’d definitely be asking for a package centered around O’Neil. You might not get any prospects with him, but you never know. Then there’s Peterson. He’s finally starting to become the hitter that we all thought he would. He’s blocked by Seager at 3rd, and Vogelbach, Dae-Ho Lee, and Adam Lind at 1B currently, which is whom if I were Jerry, would be the guy I’d try and part with for Bruce. I’d be sad to lose either player, but Bruce would be a nice haul. Not quite the defender I was hoping for, but his bat and power would be a welcome addition to the middle of this lineup.
Lots of Reds-Mariners posts here to respond to, but I’ll respond to yours because it’s the most thorough!
Mike Zunino now has a career .194 average and .255 OBP in MLB. He can catch and hit homeruns, but he hasn’t yet demonstrated the ability to hit above the mendoza line. And he’s 25, not 23. As a Reds fan, selling low on him seems like a weird decision for the Mariners, while buying a guy who can’t hit .200 over 980 MLB ABs seems like an odd decision for another team. Has the time in AAA paid off, or do his numbers look the same as those in his 10 AAA games last year, when he hit .174 for the Mariners… I don’t know, I’d just be surprised to see him moved. Maybe he’s a future star, but so far he’s shown lots of signs of being a major bust… I expect that gamble is the Mariners’ to take.
Side note, I think C/2b/3b Austin Barnes of the Dodgers might fit into the Reds’ catching mix – if Mesoraco returns healthy Barnes could play an infield position – but Zunino is another story. A third (or 4th, if you include Ramon Cabrera) guy who only catches? That’s a lot… sorta unnecessarily repetitive. Anyway…
DJ Peterson has played exclusively 1b this season, also known as Joey Votto’s position with the Reds. I definitely don’t see him as a match. The Reds already have below average defensive 3b candidates in Suarez and Duvall.
I could see the Reds being interested in Tyler O’Neill, although he sure strikes out a lot. Shrug. I don’t know what to say. Frankly I think most Reds fans, following this strong week by Bruce, are hoping for a better return than O’Neill.
Zunino hit off the top of my head in the
.150s last year or around there. His year started bad and got worse then in AAA got even worse. This year he was around .318 for much of the AAA season. Then they called him up and he sat on the bench played a couple games did OK not great, then was sent down and recalled and has done OK. He is hitting for power and actually going with the pitch instead of trying to pull everything. He still occasionally will take a wild swing at a ball down and away and look real bad but that is a lot less than before. The org called him up too soon Zurednick trying to save his job so he hurried him and it hurt his development. He needed another year in AAA. I doubt he will be available. DJ Peterson could be be someone they look at if you need a 3rd bm. He had played there until this year and is pretty good. With us getting Vogelbeck that might have been the thinking. The guy above that said Walker Zunino and O’neill for Bruce and Cozart I doubt that happens. I doubt they want Marte blocked when he is ready to return. I follow the off SABR stats but really don’t pay much attention to the D ones they just don’t seem to be near as good. I haven’t seen Bruce play much but I have watched Marte and they rate him as s poor defender which is not true. He is not the best but he is also not bad. It also use to rate Smoak a poor defender when he was here his bat was bad but his glove was pretty good. But because he might be a step slower and not get to a ball a few others would he got rated down. Another guy whose name escapes me wss rated down because he got to balls others wouldn’t get to but couldn’t get the throw off so he was rated s poor defender. So i take little stock in that. Anyway I think Bruce for Peterson and another prospect would be s good deal. Give us the OF position player we need and give you a MLB 3rd bm you need.
I would trade neither Taijuan Walker nor Mike Zunino for Jay Bruce, but I would note that Zunino is 25 years old.
With Ketel Marte on the disabled list, the Mariners need a leadoff hitter and Nori Aoki has performed well in that role in limited time since his recall from Triple A.
I question whether the Mariners, who rank third in MLB in home runs and second in OPS+, need another power hitter in the lineup.
My God, totally slipped my mind. I forget that Zunino was rushed to the show. It’s hard for me to believe that he’s that old, but he is. He’s spent the entire year in AAA this year, and since returning, has a .391 OBP with 3 homeruns in 6 games. A very very small sample size, but I’ve seen a major difference in his approach at the plate. He’s taking breaking and offspeed pitches, which is something I’ve never seen him do as of to date since his recall recently. All in all, he was rushed to the show by former mgnt. and not given the proper time to develop in AAA. That being said, he looks like a completely different hitter.
I too, do not see a Peterson fit with Cincinnati, but when we drafted DJ, it was as a 3rd basemen. The only reason he’s been playing 1B, is because, up until this year, it’s been the only position that wasn’t completely solidified on the team. But he has the arm and defense to play 3rd base. He’s just blocked their by Seager. This is the first year we’ve ever had Lee and Lind. And since we recently acquired Vogelbach, it looks like Lind’s time has just about run out.
I personally wouldn’t give up Tyler O’Neil for Bruce, mainly because he’s young, and this team needs to get younger. We’ve got plenty of guys with power, but need some table setters with speed. However, if Jerry were able to somehow acquire Bruce for something else, I’d be intrigued. He’s probably just kicking the tires to find out about the asking price like most teams.
Walker, Mike Z, Diaz are not going anywhere IMO.
If the Bruce thing happens it’s going to be Peterson and/or maybe Paxton but if Paxton is included I think there would be addition pieces involved.
I mean we just traded Benoit for Storen maybe we flip him for Bruce? Hell we’ll throw in Aoki too? #PipeDream
Really though the issue here too is that if Bruce were to be acquired by the Mariners then we would have Cruz, Martin, Gutierrez, Smith, Aoki, and then Bruce? There’s a lot of similarities between those players with Martin and Aoki being the odd couple in comparison. Not to mention you still have issues at first with Lind and Lee splitting time. Makes for a bunch of slugs on the base paths and limited versatility off the bench.
I would welcome Bruce but there would need to be additional moves to make it work.