As the weather heats up, so should the trade rumors surrounding Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, a potential unrestricted free agent this winter.

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Multiple Teams Eyeing Bruce

Monday, May 23 

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Bruce has been targeted by a “few teams,” including the Kansas City Royals.

The 29-year-old is hitting .270/.327/.518 with eight home runs and 28 runs batted in so far this season. He’s bordering on a pace that would see him touch the 30-home run mark for the first time since 2013.

That Bruce is available via trade should come as no surprise. The Toronto Blue Jays nearly acquired him in February as part of a three-team deal before medical reports halted the trade. It’s unclear which of the players caused the trip-up. Toronto outfielder Michael Saunders was also part of the deal.

The Reds are in the midst of a full-scale rebuild, winning 64 games in 2015 and sitting at 15-29 so far this season.

“It is tough losing. It’s tough to have leads and lose them. It’s also tough when we don’t score and don’t hit very well,” Bruce said, per David Jablonski of the Springfield News-Sun. “The only option is for us to continue to go forward. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to do better on both sides of the ball.”

Bruce is one of any number of Cincinnati veterans who could be on the move. Second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart and first baseman Joey Votto could all arguably be more valuable elsewhere.

Bruce is perhaps the easiest to move given his contract situation. The veteran outfielder’s $13 million salary for 2017 carries only $1 million in guarantees. A team in need of some power could use him as a short-term rental before allowing him to hit the open market.

That could be attractive to a small-market club like the Royals, who are tied for 27th in runs scored and 26th in home runs. The defending World Series champs are near the bottom in every major offensive category.

Bruce has been an abysmal defensive outfielder for his entire MLB career, so a move to the American League might help. Becoming a designated hitter might be his best career move over the long term, regardless.

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