The Enquirer/Ernest Coleman

The Reds held a press conference today to make it official: Jay Bruce has signed a six-year, $51 million contract. For some reason, Reds fans seem to be excited about this.

I can’t understand why that would be the case.

Okay, obviously, this is a good day to be a Reds fan. A talented young player is locked up, and if you read the statement he made today at the press conference, you’ll be impressed at the maturity Bruce continues to display:

“I’d like to thank ownership. Their commitment to the organization means a lot to the players, speaking for all of them. A lot of things go into that. Financial security is great. But they’re trying to build a winning team from the bottom up and really trying to have some sustainability in the organization and not just be a flash in the pan. I really appreciate that from them.

“It’s a lot of fun to be part of this organization. It’s going to be a lot of fun for hopefully seven-plus years down the road. I’m a young guy. We have a young nucleus. Walt (Jocketty) has put the pieces together to keep this thing rolling for a long time. I’m really excited about that. I really appreciate what they do from a front office standpoint as well as the coaches on the field. Everyone is going for the same goal. That’s what I really, really like about this.

“It’s not just the contract. It’s not just the money. When you have a group of dedicated people, it’s something you want to be a part of. I’m very happy. It’s just getting started and it’s going in the right direction. There’s goals we’re trying to get to here. We took a step in the right direction last year, but there’s a lot of work to be done. I’m excited to be part of that.”

Jocketty later discussed the fact that this deal is a significant commitment by Bob Castellini and the ownership group toward keeping a winner on the field. I couldn’t agree more.

Not much more to say that we haven’t already said. It’s a good day to be a Reds fan.

The club’s official press release about the Bruce deal is below the fold.

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty today announced the signing of OF Jay Bruce to a 6-year contract through the 2016 season with a club option for 2017.

Bruce and Jocketty will be available today at a press conference at 1:30 p.m. in the field level interview room at Great American Ball Park. The press conference will be broadcast live on reds.com.

Following last season, Bruce became eligible for arbitration under Major League Baseball’s “Super 2″ guidelines. In 148 games for the Reds in 2010 he hit .281 with 25 HR, 70 RBI and 5 stolen bases. In the dramatic 3-2 win vs the Houston Astros on September 28, his walkoff home run on the first pitch from Tim Byrdak clinched the club’s first National League Central Division title and playoff appearance since 1995.

At age 23, Bruce already has 68 career home runs and 180 RBI over 3 seasons in the majors. According to Elias Sports Bureau, among all active players under the age of 24 he ranks first in HR and second in RBI (Arizona Diamondbacks OF Justin Upton has 208 RBI).

“We recognize Jay as one of the exceptional young players who form the foundation of our team,” Jocketty said. “He’s an example of how we are committed to building our organization from within, first by drafting good players and then by holding onto and building around them.”

Added team President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini, “We are very proud of the way Jay handles himself not only on the field but in the community and in front of the media. He represents himself and the organization in the respectful manner consistent with our goals and philosophies.”

The Reds’ first pick (12th overall) of the June 2005 first-year player draft, Bruce was Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2007. The following season he made his Major League debut and finished fourth among rookies in the National League’s Jackie Robinson Award voting and was a TOPPS Major League Rookie All-Star