GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jay Bruce is still a Cincinnati Red. And that may be the upset of the day.
As late as Monday night, Bruce was eligible to call a moving van. He was part of a three-way trade between the Reds, Angels and Blue Jays that broke down, when one of the players involved in the deal (a prospect the Reds were going to get in the trade) had medical issues.
Earlier Monday, Bruce met with reporters here in Goodyear, Arizona, decked in in his Reds uniform and ready to take the field for the first day of full squad workouts.
Bruce has been steadfastly positive during the last eight months, when it has been abundantly clear that he doesn't fit into the team's rebuilding plans.
I said he was taking the high road in all of this. He didn't totally agree.
"I don't think this is the high road," he answered me. "I just think this is the honest road. I'm being honest. I'm a professional. You guys have known me long enough to know I don't play to the string-pulling. I really don't."
Bruce will earn $12.5 million this year and $13.5 million next, wherever he plays. The Reds, or whoever he's traded to, can get out of the final year of the deal by paying him $1 million.
But if Bruce is with the Reds by Opening Day, it would be a major upset.
We got an opportunity to speak with Joey Votto today. When asked how it felt to be around so many young players, he replied: "I'm still young. I'm young, single and good-looking."
He also bristled at the notion that the Reds aren't going to be very good this year. ESPN picked the Reds 30th out of the 30 MLB teams. And USA Today predicted the Reds would win just 61 games in 2016.
"If there's one thing that I'll confront people on, (it's) if there's any sort of conversation of us being a poor team or having no chance. I've come into this season expecting to be a part of a club that has a chance to go to the playoffs and win a World Series."
Homer Bailey was a little more direct about the prospects of being taken lightly by anyone this season:
"Who had Houston as far as they did? Didn't everyone have the Nationals winning it all last year? That didn't work out. I think predictions are pretty much crap. I think the only prediction you can make is that's it's going to be sunny here (in Goodyear) tomorrow. And even then, we might get a damn monsoon."
Bailey, by the way, believes that he'll be ready to pitch for the Reds by May. I asked him if he had any luck hunting in Texas this offseason.
"Hunting? I've been rehabbing my elbow all winter"
More from Goodyear tomorrow. Sunny and 72° today.