In the immediate aftermath of the reported trade like the one that sent Jay Bruce to the New York Mets for Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell, fans want to know one thing:
It’s impossible to say.
What we can say is with absolute certainty is that at this stage of his career Herrera, the top player the Reds are getting, is way behind Bruce on the development charts. When Bruce was 22, he was in the big leagues hitting 22 home runs for the year.
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Herrera, at 22, is hitting .276/.327./.462 with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs in Triple-A.
But the Reds were in position where they pretty much had to trade Bruce.
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.
Herrera might help on that front.
But it’s still a sad day for the Reds. They’ve traded the third best player they’ve developed over the last 20 years or so (Joey Votto’s No. 1; Johnny Cueto’s No. 2) for a player who may be as good as Bruce.
I’d bet he’s not.
Remember, Bruce was the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball in 2007, the year before he made it to the big leagues. Herrera is rated 46th.
The other thing about Bruce is he’s a great guy. He’s respected and admired in the clubhouse. He hasn’t always performed on the field like fans wanted, but he was always a stand-up guy, a shining example of what you want from a star athlete.
Herrera could be that kind of guy.
But it’s sad that the Reds had to trade a player that was that kind of guy.
John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion.