Slugging outfielder Jay Bruce was finally traded this summer after over a year of speculation, ultimately going from the Reds to the Mets. Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News suggested recently that Bruce had asked not to be shipped to New York before the deadline. But the veteran clarified today that he had never made such a request, as Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily reports.
In fact, says Bruce, Cincinnati asked him “very early in the process” if he had a preference on a trade destination. He explains that he provided his long-time organization a list of three teams — the Giants, Rangers, and Dodgers — that he would have preferred due to “personal ties” to those locales.
While he might have liked to land elsewhere, Bruce says that he was more than happy to join the Mets. “I got a chance to come play in a playoff race and I’m so happy to be here,” he said. “Things get misconstrued. Yes, New York was not on my list initially, that’s really all there is to it. Definitely wasn’t as comfortable with New York as I was the other places, but I’m happy to be here and we’re doing exactly what I hoped to do when I got here.”
It’s worth remembering that Bruce did have limited no-trade protection. He obviously wasn’t all that troubled by the idea of going to the Mets, as they were not among the eight teams to which he could block a trade. (For what it’s worth, the Yankees were on that list.) It’s important to bear in mind that players often have multi-faceted reasons for preferring certain organizations — whether in settling on a no-trade list, communicating with their current organization, or navigating free agency — potentially including personal preferences, family constraints, and considerations of contract leverage.
In Bruce’s case, it certainly seems as if he was most interested in playing for a winning organization, as his comments suggest. After all, earlier this summer, he made clear he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a move to a contending team.