According to Ken Rosenthal (FOX Sports) the Reds have engaged in preliminary discussions on deals that involve trading outfielder Jay Bruce. The Padres are among the teams who have talked to the Reds about Bruce. Trading Bruce would be part of a plan to take a major step backward and restructure.

The report indicates that Reds are not yet committed to that plan. So far, the Reds are simply talking, not shopping Bruce.

The question is whether the organization can afford to compete again with the current roster plus additions in LF and the bullpen. My sense is they can afford their returning players but not much more. To acquire more hitting, which is what they need the most, they may need to move a starting pitcher contract.

Obviously, it’s impossible to judge any trade involving Bruce without seeing details. But his salary $12 million (2015), $12.5 million (2016) and a club option of $13 million (2017) is low relative to the value he’s provided. From 2010-2013, he provided more than $16 million/year based on an average of fWAR and bWAR. He won the Silver Slugger award in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Bruce injured his knee, had surgery and played at less than full strength.

You’d hate to see the Reds trade low on Bruce.

I also hope they make their overall intentions for 2015 clear before I have to buy my season tickets or make plans to go to spring training.

65 Responses

  1. Ellis Henry

    Part of a plan to free up salary and extend one of Cueto/Latos or both?

  2. charlottencredsfan

    Crazy.

    Jay needs to be part of the rebuilding process not a trade chip to facilitate it. Lord knows, I’m as big a proponent of rebuilding this team, as anyone but not with Jay Bruce. Hope this is just reckless speculation.

  3. jessecuster44

    DO NOT TRADE JAY BRUCE. His value is at at an all-time low, and he’s probably going to have a nice-bounce back year. The only way that this should even be a possibility is if the organization has given up on Bruce as a hitter, and think that he cannot/will not change his style.

    If the Reds decide to rebuild now, I’m wondering what they were thinking last July when things were pretty much the same.

    I think the Reds’ front office is an absolute mess. Over the past three years, they have done so little with so much talent. It’s criminal.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Actually until the ASB, this was a pretty good club and in the thick of it. The second was a complete meltdown and should have signaled to everyone that it is time to turn the club over. Jay, Mes, Frazier and Hamilton should be the core of the rebuilding process.

      • jessecuster44

        ASB was in July. Injuries killed the team, and Walt would not make a deal to keep the team in the race. Reds could have rebuilt RIGHT THEN by trading SPs for more than they’ll get right now. Instead, Walt and the rest of the FO is about 4 months behind.

        With the Starting Pitching this team still has, the Reds should not rebuild. You do not get pitching like this often. The team needs offense, and they should deal prospects to get it. The goal is to win championships, at least that’s what I was led to believe.

      • charlottencredsfan

        We will disagree on the Reds chances in 2015 but also that now is not a “better” time then ASB 2014. More teams to be in the bidding process.

        Heck, I was for unloading “before” the ASB last year. For the most part, the lineup was set in the 2nd half outside of Votto – and still couldn’t generate squat.

      • tct

        Of course the goal is to win championships. But you have to realistically judge your team’s chances before you trade away possible pieces of your future. You don’t go all in with a pair of twos. So the question the Reds would have to honestly answer is how good are their chances to make the playoffs this year?

      • jessecuster44

        More teams in the bidding, but also now competing vs FA signings. I think they would have gotten a great deal if Walt was aggressive in July. (But he’s asleep at the wheel during the reg, season) It is very tough for me to stomach the idea of rebuilding when the FO made so little effort to win from 2010-2014 with this core group. They never got a LF bat when they really needed one, never made a deadline deal for offense, and never replaced any injury with a good player from outside the organization.

        The Reds don’t have a pair of twos. They have a pretty strong hand if they add some pop to the lineup.

        When this team rebuilds, they will become irrelevant in the NL Central for years to come. Better to have one last go with the current team, then start the process.

      • MrRed

        Sorry, Jess. The FA market this offseason is pretty lame. Trades are the only real avenue for most teams that needs upgrades or makeovers. Therefore, the Reds are in no worse position now than they were at the ASB.

        I don’t like the idea of trading Bruce strictly from the perspective that I believe the Reds would be selling low now. Of course, my mind could change if I saw what the Reds would be getting back. But it would have to be something that would blow my socks off because I believe that JB has a relatively inexpensive contract, he’s young and it seems likely that he will bounce back to something that looks more like the 2010-2013 seasons. The Reds don’t need another hole to fill, so a trade of JB would have to strengthen more than 1 position.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Actually, it wasn’t as much as the injuries, which did have an effect. It was the fact that those who were doing well before the ASB, like Hamilton, Devin, and Frazier, started to slump. But, then, for some, that can be reality. After all, who really expected Devin to be hitting 400 like he was doing for, what the first month or something?

        It’s pretty simple. They overachieved in the first half and underachieved in the second half.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I agree with TCT, you have to be realistic. Before last season started, who really felt the Reds had a chance at anything? They just lost a one game playoff to the Pirates. They lost a major offensive weapon in Choo, replacing him with a player who barely had a breath of air at AAA. They traded their regular catcher. Their top 3 relievers were on the DL as well as their #2 starter. All of this going into the first game last season. Anyone thinking the Reds were going to do anything last season would simply be too blind to see it. They simply overachieved the first half and underachieved the second half.

        However, I still loved their style of play.

      • jessecuster44

        I thought that the Reds had a shot this past year, due to their SP. Regarding the FA market, Lester is a FA, yes? Plus a few other SPs? So instead of trading for Cueto or Latos, or whoever, other teams can sign Lester now – whereas you couldn’t do that during July. Thats the point I’m trying to make – that rebuilding NOW is a process that has started 4 months too late, and the Reds have lost leverage.

        Also, while I agree with many of the responses, I’m wondering if hindsight has colored some of your opinions. It’s easy to talk about overachievement when the season turned out the way it did.

        That said, I’m more informed now than I was when I started my comments, and I have more to think about. Thanks.

        I still think that Walt is horrible.

  4. ToddAlmighty

    It’d have to be a 3 team trade, right? I don’t think the Padres even have a good minor league system. Their #1 prospect is a AA Catcher who OPS’d .589 last year. Their only AAA position player Top 20 prospect is a 2B who OPS’d .586 last year.

    I just don’t know what the Padres could have that the Reds would want.

    • dradg

      That’s exactly what I thought. The Pads are my second favorite NL team (used to live in SD for 5 years literally a block from Petco Field), so I keep up with them. They certainly don’t have any prospects I think Walt should be interested in.

    • Hotto4votto

      Maybe if they started with Seth Smith, Everth Cabrera, and a bull pen arm….that would at least get my attention. But I’m not sure the Reds would want to deal with Cabrera (PED history, coming off a bad/injury year, etc) and the aftermath would mean the Reds would still need an OF.

  5. RedAlert

    Jokerty going to run this organization in the ground further than he already has – have no confidence whatsoever the he will do ONE SINGLE SOLITARY THING to put a competitive team on the field in 2015 – he has been a totally inept GM going on 2 years now – pathetic

    • RedAlert

      Article just posted by John Fay – Jokerty ” We aren’t really close on anything ” sound familiar ???!!! – other phrase he uses each year is ” we just didn’t find anything out there thst was a good fit ”

      WALT WILL NOT DO JACK !!!!

      • Kyle Farmer

        Come on, man. Jocketty used darn near the exact same language about 48 hours before he traded for Latos. It’s okay to not like the guy but at least have a real reason.

  6. CP

    For this team, everyone should be available for the right price. Bruce’s age/contract/performance last season makes him an unlikely person to be trades. Guys like Rosenthal have a lot of slow news days to fill during the offseason.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Agree but in the trade pecking order, I have Jay Bruce about thirty-third in line. Young, talented and reasonably priced. If we haven’t noticed, the team does not have a surplus of these guys.

      • CP

        Those attributes are also what makes him attractive to other teams. I don’t believe he’ll be traded. I’d be shocked to see him traded after his injury-plagued season, but for the right price, sure. It’s just hard to see someone giving fair value for him. Actually, I’d say him and Aroldis Chapman have the best trade value on the team, but suffer from the same problem in that they both seem more valuable to the Reds than what they’d likely get in return.

      • tct

        Disagree about trade value. Mesoraco has the most trade value. Three years team control of a mid twenties power hitting catcher at arbitration prices. Next would be Frazier or possibly Hamilton. Then Cueto and Bruce. Then Chapman or Latos depending on his health.

      • redmountain

        If you havent noticed there will be replacements for all three OF within the next two years. I would not trade Bruce this winter, but I cannot see keeping much longer if he cannot hit the ball on the outside to LF and raise the avg into the 280 range if not higher.

      • tct

        The reds have one elite outfield prospect and that’s Winker. Yorman, Waldrop, and Ervin are all interesting, but they are not even close to sure things. Neither is Winker for that matter, but his chances are much better than the other guys. If just one of the Yorman,Ervin, Waldrop group becomes an average major leaguer, then the Reds will be doing well. The chances of all three becoming good major leaguers is virtually nil.

        I have no problem trading Bruce for the right return. But they should not be getting rid of him just to make room for guys who aren’t even elite prospects.

      • MrRed

        Couldn’t have said it better. There’s just not enough in the MiL right now to think we have our outfield solved going forward.

      • lwblogger2

        37 NL players with over 400 plate appearance managed to hit over .280. That’s a little over 2 per team. The league batting average for the NL in 2014 was .249. Jay Bruce has hit over .280 once, in 2010 when he hit .281. I don’t think you have a realistic expectation and will also point out that there’s a lot more to hitting than batting average. Bruce is a power hitter. I would like to see him walk more, hit more line drives, and hit more extra base hits. If he can get his OPS+ and RC+ back up over 110, play the solid defense we’ve seen from him in the past, and be the general all-around good guy that he is, then he’s easily worth his contract.

  7. Thegaffer

    I for one am happy Jocketty has an open mind, and not the tunnel vision that lead to complete roster immobilization the last 2 years. No one can say that trading Jay is a bad idea until they hear the rest of the deal. Would I trade Bruce for low level minor leaguers, probably not. Would I trade him and Marshall or Phillips together for Ttulowitski, of course.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Yeah, not making any judgement on if trading Bruce would be good or not, because I would need to see the return they get.

      From the rumor though, it’d be hard to sound good. The Padres are a bad team with a bad minor league system. Case and point, if you go to their website, who is their one player in the background? .240/.285/.397 hitting Yonder Alonso. That’s the face of their team.

      So either there has to be a third team involved with someone the Reds actually want, or Walt has gone senile.

    • lwblogger2

      I love Jay Bruce but of course it depends on the return the Reds would get in a trade. Personally, I think they’d be selling low and they wouldn’t get good value for him if they move him right now. If I was a team and heard this rumor, I’d call Walt and offer a couple mid-level prospects and see if he was dumb enough to bite.

  8. droomac

    I hope this rumor is unfounded. The return for Bruce would be better at the deadline or after the season if he rebounds in 2015. In a best case scenario, he bounces back big in 2015 and is with the team in 2016 as well. Right now, it would just be silly to trade him unless the offer was an overpay.

    What I find most compelling about the situation is that the Reds approached Bruce prior to last season to attempt to extend him. I would be very curious to know if the offers (there were reported to have been two) were before or after Homer’s deal. Perhaps Walt sought out Bruce first and extended Homer after Bruce refused. Perhaps Homer was trade bait if Bruce accepted one of the offers. This is very interesting.

    • droomac

      Also, the whole Padres thing reeks of Kevin Towers. Jeez.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Now is the time to extend Jay if you were interested in that.

      • lwblogger2

        Not saying I’d do it, mostly because he has 2 years left. That said, I think if you’re looking for a good value and are willing to take a risk, now would probably be the best time.

  9. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    I do believe that almost everyone should be available given the right situation but I don’t see how Bruce would bring the best return after the season he just had. Seems as if he’d be one of the last guys to be traded but you never know.

  10. redmountain

    The Reds appear to be keeping their pitchers for this next season. They could trade some at the deadline, but I do not see them making any moves of substance unless it is for bullpen help. For 2016 I would think that Winker, Yorman, and several pitchers will be ready so that people will walk or be traded.

  11. Tom Reed

    Say it ain’t so. We need a healthy Jay Bruce in the lineup. Concentrate on a rental in leftfield and redo the relief pitching. Get that done and the Reds have a good chance to challenge in 2015.

  12. Ronald Couch

    I say trade everybody that doesn’t have extended club control for prospects.. Homer’s contract is very club friendly and tradable, and I bet BP would waive the 5/10 in a deal with ATL. The guys l see left would be Votto, Mez, Frazier. Cozart, Hamilton and Inglesias. Take the funds saved and lock up Cueto and Chapman 6-7 yrs each. Ithink the prospects we receive, given the ones we have, that would give another 4-5 yr “window” in 2-3 yrs

    • jessecuster44

      What if we don’t want to wait 2-3 years and want to win now? Sick of waiting for this organization to put on the big boy pants and get it done.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Too late for that now. The winning now was the 2010-2014 window. Might be able to sneak in the 2015 season, but it’s doubtful.

      • charlottencredsfan

        This is panic to me. The Reds can’t win it all “now” Just can’t, with or without”, the big boy pants. So what to do: hold on for one last hurrah and come up short or wise up and start building the team you want to be?

        Is there anyone here that believes the Reds will be the 2015 WS Champs? Anyone? They have to get the payroll straightened out and get right side up. This team is top heavy on salaries. In other words: they are under water. Go ahead and fool yourself that this team is a legit contender, it isn’t. The team needs to accept the fact, get their heads on straight, and build a team that has a real shot.

        Going all in recklessly because of an Al-Star Game is the height of stupidity. It s the wrong motivator and absurd.

        You can not build a winner out of frustration or living in a dream world. It will make things worse then they are already. Sober up.

      • jessecuster44

        Sober up? I might be DEAD by the time the Reds become competitive again if they rebuild. They still have the SP, plus a couple in reserve. Trade prospects for a bat. Turn over the bullpen. Give this iteration one last shot. Of course, this is what may people have been shouting for the Reds to do.

        Or, screw it! Trade everyone and become the 2009-2014 Cubs. Anyone want that? That’s what I think will happen if the Reds “rebuild” with Walt and Bob in charge.

        Keep waiting for tomorrow, and it will NEVER come.

      • lwblogger2

        I gotta agree! I didn’t like the Reds’ rebuilding process the last time. They had no winning seasons from 2001-2009. Rebuilding efforts can work but they often times don’t work. Ideally, you need to turn over a few players regularly like you see the Cardinals doing. I see teams with losing season after losing season (Pirates, Royals, O’s, Indians, Mariners, Padres, and more) when they are trying to rebuild.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Wouldn’t want to give Cueto 6yr/$150m even if the team could afford it. Also, why lock up Chapman at all? So he can pitch 50-60 innings a year, only like 20 of them in high leverage? Pass.

    • CP

      So by “everybody”, you actually just mean BP & Bruce from the position players, and Latos, Leake, & Bailey. Ain’t nobody taking on BP’s contract, and I’m not sure how you view Bailey’s contract as club friendly…it was almost universally considered a bad overpay at the time, and last year it’s generous to say he was a league average pitcher.

  13. Earl Nash

    I don’t see how trading Jay Bruce to the worst hitting team in the majors is going to improve the offense. This one doesn’t seem likely at all.

  14. Drew

    Just a question…but of all the “rumors” that hits the net or such how many ever come to pass? How many rumors were there prior to the deal to get Latos? As for trading Bruce, please there should be NO ONE on this team that for the right offer you don’t deal. This man love for basically a slightly above average RF is sad. Yes Bruce can put up nice “stretches” in a season, but Bruce is what he is..a extremely streaky player who does play on most parts great Defense, but he is not the be all end all that you don’t trade if the right offer comes your way.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Good God, of course everyone is available. Always and forever. But I can not imagine anyone offering enough, he is now at the bottom of the value cycle.

      We have a major question marks (in order): LF, SS, 2B, CF, 1B. Yes RF is too but outside of 3B & C, is the least among them. I have no man love for any player just trying to employ common sense. What does SD have that you even want for Bruce?

  15. jim t

    If I’m the reds I don’t make a deal unless I’m overwhelmed. I sign 1 of our pitchers to go with Bailey. After 2015 we have two pitchers in Stephenson and Lorenzen that should be ready to go into rotation. We also have some back up in Lively and Moscot. Cingrani may also be a alternative. In the field either Y-Rod or Winkler should be ready to take over LF. If we aren’t contending at trade deadline I make a move then. As a one year rental for 2014 I try to sign Tori Hunter.

    The reality is Joey is here for life,BP isn’t going anywhere unless we eat some of his contract. Hamilton,Frazier, and Mez are here for at least 3 more years. Bruce we have for 2. Chapman comes off books after next year. Marshall will also be off the books. If I do make a trade it would be for a high end SS to replace Cozart not LF. Winker and Y-Rod can fill that role. We aslo have Rotation candidates as I mentioned.

    Again i sit tight this year except adding Hunter and a bull pen piece and wait for the youngsters to get here to fill the holes. i think if the reds are healthy they will contend with Hunter in LF. if not we reload with Youngsters next year and make moves at trade deadline.

  16. knoxreds

    I read this as “Walt did not immediately shoot down a trade conversation (or conversations) that included Jay Bruce.” Based on where this team is, I have no problem with Walt not automatically shooting down what (few) conversations they are apparently having. And my baseball affection for Affable Jay aside, I’d only be angry if the trade were stupid. You can’t really judge a deal unless you know what you’re getting in return. I can’t tell you whether I think you’re about to waste that $100 in your pocket until you tell me what you’re going to spend it on.

  17. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Again, as always, it all depends upon what the money and the player are going to go towards. So, no one can really tell here. It could be for prospects. It could be for Seth Smith, which I believe could almost be a wash.

    As for only the case of letting Bruce go, I could understand it. I simply don’t feel he’s really produced like the club thought he has. Shoot, since he’s been in the league, he’s been living off the one good month he would have each summer, something he didn’t have this past summer. I still believe he is still living off his contract given from hitting one specific HR that just so happened to win the 2010 division title. So, I can understand the team would be looking at letting him go.

    The thing is, the same thing I’ve said about trading BP, what’s plan B? We need to have someone out there. Now, given Bruce’s offense last season, we could put most anyone out there and get similar results. But, Bruce’s numbers prior to that, to replace that would be a little harder. However, again, are they looking to do something else with the money.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      Could Torri Hunter be expected to lead off if Hamilton fails as a lead off hitter? I think that has to be a serious consideration in any free agency signing or trade talks. Who will Price choose to lead off if Hamilton is batting .240 with a .280 op in mid-May? I hope it doesn’t happen, but you are ignoring a very real possibility if you don’t factor it in. Maybe Torri would be fine as a lead off hitter – just asking the question.

    • VaRedsFan

      I agree with your assessment of Bruce. I will add that his surgery kept him out of action for a whopping 2 weeks. This wasn’t a major knee injury. So he came back (possibly prematurely) and was playing everyday. So he gets to use this to explain the next 4 months of futility? I don’t. Others have come back from worse injuries than that and produce as good as they did pre-surgery. He was stealing bases and running well when he got back, so I’m not letting him blame an awful season on the knee. I flailed at bad pitches and watched hittable pitches go right down the middle because his knee was bothering him?

      I have no problem trading him…. but as other have said, San Diego doesn’t offer anything of interest

    • Michael Smith

      In the past I have listed his plus 800 ops months since 2010 and other than last year he has had at least 3 a year. So your theory that he lives off one month a year is incorrect.

      • lwblogger2

        Honestly, I’ve given up responding to that accusation.

  18. WVRedlegs

    San Diego has to be a smoke screen, unless Tyson Ross is in the return. Seattle is looking for a Jay Bruce type of corner OF and would certainly overpay on Bruce. Bruce and Latos or Simon could bring back some very nice MLB-ready young players in SP Taijuan Walker, SP James Paxton, and SS Chris Taylor.
    Miami says they are just starting to deal. Bruce could bring back Christian Yelich and a young SP.
    What would Houston give for Bruce?? Springer and a SP?
    San Diego seems like the least likely trade target for the Reds.
    There really is no reason to worry though, with Walt Jocketty at the helm, nothing of any significance will get consumated. Jocketty is already throwing out his tired, worn out, and over-used responses, “We aren’t close on anything” and “We just couldn’t find a match.”

    • joe

      Rosenthal reports trade discussions with other clubs. Bruce to Houston? Do they have any interesting trade pieces we need?

  19. charlottencredsfan

    Big time: especially Carlos Correa, their #1 prospect and a SS.
    Scouting grades: Hit – 60, Power – 70, Run – 50, Arm – 70, Field – 50 Overall – “70”
    Age: 20
    ETA: 2016

    If we could get a nice package with Correa as the centerpiece, my mind would be wide open. Put him at SS, Yelich in RF, Winker in LF, Mes – C, Fraz – 3B, Billy – CF, you have the makings of a very good nucleus of young talent to build from. Now that would something to be excited about!

    • charlottencredsfan

      This is in response to Joe’s question.

    • VaRedsFan

      Getting Yelich is, no doubt, a great idea. But it is truly a pipe dream. Miami won’t ever give up a low payed talented player, especially now after the Stanton signing.