Folks in baseball circles probably wouldn’t be surprised if the Cincinnati Reds dealt a starting pitcher this offseason. The Reds might take a different, more surprising plan of action to trim some payroll, however, as they are reportedly considering trading away outfielder Jay Bruce

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has the report:

The Reds also have engaged in preliminary discussions on deals involving two-time All-Star right fielder Jay Bruce, according to major-league sources. And though club officials say the team is merely listening on players rather than shopping them, a trade of Bruce for more cost-effective talent would be a major step toward retooling with a lower payroll in 2015.

As Rosenthal notes, the Reds likely have to trim their payroll this offseason, which could balloon to $120 million by next season. For a smaller-market club that only has one wild-card loss in the last two seasons, it’s hard to justify a figure that high.

Bruce is coming off of a disappointing season that saw him battle injuries and finish with a .217 average, 18 home runs and 66 RBI. In August, he discussed the issues he was having with his knee, per John Fay of

It’s been miserable. It’s honestly been the most embarrassing year of my life. But I know this isn’t me. It’s definitely humbling, not that I needed to be more humbled by anything. I feel like I’m pretty self-aware and have some humility. It’s just one of those things. You have to find a way to take some positive out of it to get better. I think this is going to make me better.

Bruce is just 27, of course, and hit at least 20 homers in his first six seasons in the league, so it’s hard to imagine the Reds wouldn’t find a suitor if they are indeed serious about moving Bruce to cut payroll.

The issue for the Reds might be getting value in the deal. While they will try to market Bruce as the player who hit 30 home runs and 109 RBI in 2013, teams might only be willing to pay for the player who had a down year in 2014. 

For that reason, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Reds looked to trim payroll elsewhere. Bruce still has plenty of star potential, and the Reds shouldn’t sell him low simply to save a few bucks. 


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