The Reds are in a tricky spot with Jay Bruce, John Fay says

Posted at 7:58 AM, Jul 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-30 13:05:30-04

CINCINNATI — As the clock ticks toward the 4 p.m. Monday non-waiver trade deadline, the Reds find themselves in a bit of a tricky spot.

Logic says trade Jay Bruce.

But Walt Jocketty, president of baseball operations, told reporters in San Diego that the offers for Bruce and other players the Reds would consider moving are underwhelming.

“Clubs inquire about certain players, but they never want to trade you anything,” Jocketty said. “So what’s the point? You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff...”

Jocketty rarely hints much about trade talks, so for him to go that far says something. He also has never been one to make a move simply to appease the fan base.

Standing pat would seem to make little sense. The Reds are at least two years away from contending. Bruce is under contract for this year and has a reasonable option ($13 million) for next year. Signing him long-term is pretty much out of the question.

And the Reds desperately need an infusion of talented, young position players.

So put yourself in the Reds’ shoes: You’ve decided to move, so you’ve put your house up for sale. You’ve gotten a couple of offers, but they’re on the low side of low ball. 

Do you sell? You could stay in your current home and hope the market gets better down the road a bit.

In the case of Bruce, it may. His value is at a high with his resurgence at the plate. He’s on pace to hit 40 home runs and drive in 127 runs and finish with a career-high .885 on-base plus slugging.


But, right now, the only teams who are in the market to add players are contenders. The list of reported suitors includes Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, the Dodgers, Washington, Baltimore and the Mets. That’s seven teams.

If the Reds waited until the offseason — when pretty much everyone considers themselves a contender — they may get better offers.

But Bruce could slump or get hurt.

A little history: Before the 2008 season, the Reds picked up a $13 million option on Adam Dunn. They ended up trading Dunn in August that season to Arizona for Wilkin Castillo and Micah Owings.

So waiting doesn’t always work. Again, it’s a bit of a tricky spot.

I’m guessing the Reds would be willing to move Zack Cozart as well. But his name has barely shown up on the rumor mill. Cozart’s having a nice year, but a team has to have a very specific need to be interested. In Bruce’s case, he could play right, left or be used as a DH in the American League.

I can’t see the Reds moving Anthony DeSclafani. Owner Bob Castellini is very conscious of fan sentiment, and trading DeSclafani, who looks like a budding ace, sends an awful message. He’s under team control for four more years.

Unless some team absolutely blows the Reds away — top five overall prospect — I can’t see them moving DeSclafani.

Dan Straily is the other name you see on the rumor mill. He’s had a good year, and he’s coming off his best start. He’s only 27. The Reds got him for nothing. I’m guessing if there’s a decent offer, they’d move him.

Things tend to heat up as the deadline nears. So maybe the offers get better for Bruce. Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams face a tough call if the offers don’t get better.

John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion.