Tag: Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Mets RF

The New York Mets have a logjam in the outfield and could try to solve it by dealing away Jay Bruce.

Continue for updates.

Phillies Interested in Bruce

Sunday, Jan. 15

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Philadelphia Phillies have had a “longstanding interest” in Bruce, although the team might not want to match the reported price of two prospects.

The 29-year-old is under contract for $13 million through the 2017 season.

Bruce was acquired by the Mets shortly before the 2016 trade deadline after spending nine years with the Cincinnati Reds. Although he had a strong start to the year in Cincinnati with 25 home runs and 80 RBI in 97 games, he struggled immensely in New York.

Over the final two months of the season, he hit just eight home runs with 19 RBI and a .219 batting average in 50 games. His OPS was just .685 with the Mets, down from .875 in Cincinnati.

He looked nothing like the player who had made three All-Star appearances with 233 home runs with the Reds.

Despite the poor performance, New York picked up his reasonable team option at the end of the season to keep him on the roster. However, the re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes led to an overload of corner outfielders when paired with Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto.

Although the Mets have been unable to find a trade partner throughout the offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson blamed outside circumstances.

“The situation right now has been created by the number of free agents that exist,” he said, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Until fellow sluggers like Mark Trumbo and Jose Bautista are off the board, it will be hard to create a legitimate market for Bruce.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jay Bruce Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Mets Star

New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce has been the subject of trade rumors this MLB offseason.

Continue for updates.

Blue Jays Showing Interest in Bruce

Monday, Nov. 14

The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly discussed a trade for Bruce with the Mets, ESPN’s Jim Bowden told MLB Network Radio on Sunday.  

According to Bowden, the Blue Jays want to set up a platoon in left field, with Melvin Upton Jr. already in place.

A platoon in left field would make sense. Upton hit just .226 against right-handed pitching last season with a dreadful .274 on-base percentage. He also struck out 116 times against right-handers, as opposed to just 39 times against lefties.

Bruce, on the other hand, hit .262 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI against righties. He had an OPS of .872 against righties compared to his .678 OPS against lefties.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Blue Jays have made a run at Bruce. According to TSNToronto “had a trade for Bruce fall through last season.”

Bruce, 29, remains an excellent power hitter. He finished 2016 hitting .250 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI, leading the Mets to pick up his $13 million option for 2017.

But his future in New York is likely tied to free agent Yoenis Cespedes. If the slugger signs elsewhere in free agency, the Mets are more likely to retain Bruce for the middle of their lineup. If Cespedes re-signs with the Mets, however, Bruce would become a valuable trade chip who could be used to acquire assets needed in other areas.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jay Bruce Catching Fire as Mets Seek Heroes for 2016 Playoffs

They won’t have Matt Harvey, they won’t have Jacob deGrom, and they won’t have Daniel Murphy.

If you’re expecting the New York Mets to be the same roadblock they were for the Chicago Cubs they were last October, well, a lot of the power pitching is hurt, and the power-hitting second baseman is gone.

But they do have Jay Bruce.    

A week ago, you’d laugh when you said that. A week ago, Mets fans would cringe or worse if you said it.

But now the Mets are nearly assured of getting back to the postseason, and Bruce is part of the reason. Now the Mets are one regular-season win and one Wild Card Game win away from an October rematch with the Cubs, and Bruce is a reason to think they might just have a chance again.

“We knew when we got him, if he starts swinging the bat, he changes our whole lineup,” Mets manager Terry Collins said on the Mets TV broadcast Friday night after Bruce’s three hits and three RBI keyed the 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies that dropped the Mets’ magic number to one. “Hopefully he can stay hot from now on.”

Presumably Collins meant from now to whenever the Mets are done in 2016. Bruce’s history through eight-and-a-half years with the Cincinnati Reds tells you he can stay hot for a while and that he can carry a team when he does.

That same history tells you he can get ridiculously cold and can drive his own team up the wall when he does.

The Mets saw that after acquiring Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds Aug. 1. Their fans saw it, and because they’d never really seen the hot version of Bruce, they booed him almost nonstop during the team’s last homestand. They stopped only when they didn’t have a chance, because Collins pinch hit for Bruce—with Eric Campbell!—and then left him out of the lineup four straight days.

The final day of that benching was last Saturday, and that night, Bruce pinch hit in the ninth inning and hit his first home run in three weeks (he went 3-for-39 in those three weeks, with no extra-base hits and one RBI).

Since then, Bruce has been back in the lineup every game, and he’s hit safely in each one. The Mets have won every game but one.

Beginning with that home run, Bruce has 10 hits in 20 at-bats, and four of them have left the ballpark.

As my friend Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal tweeted sarcastically Friday:

With Bruce, with Yoenis Cespedes, with a revitalized Jose Reyes and an impressive Asdrubal Cabrera, the Mets head toward October with a lineup that might match or beat the one they rode to the World Series a year ago. They’ll need it, because as well as Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman (who won again Friday) have done as fill-in starters, it’s a little much to expect them to dominate in October the way Harvey or deGrom could.

Even if this season ends with a wild-card loss next Wednesday or even if it ends with a division-series loss to a Cubs team that will be heavily favored, the Mets can be proud of what they’ve done.

They lost three-fifths of their Opening Day rotation and also Zack Wheeler, the young power pitcher who was supposed to come back from Tommy John surgery and join the rotation at midseason. Three of the four starting infielders suffered major injuries, and two remain out.

They were 60-62 on Aug. 20, when they had just lost Steven Matz and were about to lose deGrom. They’ve gone 26-12 since then, the best record in the major leagues in that span.

Most of that came with minimal contributions from Bruce, who was leading the National League in RBI at the time of the trade but drove in just 11 runs in his first 42 games with the Mets.

It’s only been a week since then, two games against the Phillies sandwiched around a series against a Miami Marlins team stunned by Jose Fernandez’s death. It’s not much.

But Bruce’s history says these hot streaks can last. The Mets hope this one does.

Already, Bruce has the hits that have them on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. Now maybe he can give them the hits that help make that playoff spot count.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Former Reds RF Jay Bruce Joins Mets, Instantly Becomes Team’s HR and RBI Leader

Fact: The New York Mets traded for Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce on Monday, per ESPN’s Adam Rubin. Bruce has 25 home runs and 80 runs batted in this season—both more than any player currently on the Mets.

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Fact of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: B/R Insights 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mets Hope to Recapture Deadline Magic with Jay Bruce Trade

NEW YORK — If you try something once and it works, you’re going to try again.

Jay Bruce isn’t Yoenis Cespedes. The 2016 New York Mets are not the 2015 Mets, and the National League East isn’t the same as it was last year, either.

But on another deadline day, the Mets could dream. Mets fans could dream. Mets players could dream.

“There’s been a lot of talk in our clubhouse the last few days: ‘Are we going to get someone?'” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Well, we did.”

Well, they did. They got Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds, a year to the deadline day after getting Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers.

Now they have too many corner outfielders and no real center fielder. They have too many injuries and not enough certainty.

They know that. They admit that.

But even with Matt Harvey out for the season, the Mets have a starting rotation they can win with. They may not have a great chance at catching the Washington Nationals in the NL East (Baseball Prospectus put it at 5 percent as of Monday afternoon), but even if this is just about the wild card, they owed it to themselves to give it a shot.

It’s about more than that, of course.

The Mets weren’t going to give up on this year, and they certainly weren’t going to give up on next year. Finding offense was going to be an issue this winter, too, which is why Mets general manager Sandy Alderson kept emphasizing they have Bruce under control in 2017 (with an affordable $13 million club option).

“We would not have done this deal without an extra year of control,” Alderson said.

The extra year means this isn’t as much of an all-in move as the Cespedes trade was last year. So does the cost, because even though the Mets liked second baseman Dilson Herrera (“He’s a little like Devon Travis,” a National League scout said Monday), he’s not as exciting as Michael Fulmer, the pitcher they gave up for what could have been two months of Cespedes.

This one was Herrera and 19-year-old left-hander Max Wotell for a year-and-a-half of Bruce. Alderson acknowledged the deal changed at one point Monday (Marc Carig of Newsday reported Brandon Nimmo was taken out of the trade because of medical concerns), but the price wasn’t prohibitive for a player who leads the National League with 80 RBI.

“He’s been a run producer,” Alderson said. “His presence in the middle of the lineup changes things. It wasn’t clear to me how long Cespedes was going to get pitches to hit with the rest of the lineup around him.”

Some people question the concept of protection in a batting order, but Alderson obviously doesn’t. Neither does Collins, who was quick to say Bruce will hit right behind Cespedes.

“I’m telling you, I think he’s going to make a huge impact here,” Collins said.

Bruce can be an impact guy, as he has shown in eight-plus years with the Reds. He’s been an impact guy this season. He’s always been streaky, but when he’s going good, he’s one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.

He also has months like August 2015, when he hit .150 with 29 strikeouts in 113 at-bats.

Bruce is hot right now, with six home runs and 14 RBI in his last seven games. Compare that to the Mets, who as a team have 17 RBI in their last seven games.

“Had we been able to score some runs this week, we’d be in better shape right now,” Collins said.

A year ago, the Mets were 28th in baseball in runs scored before the All-Star break. They were third in baseball in runs scored after the break. It wasn’t all Cespedes, but there’s no question adding him changed their lineup and changed their season.

Can Bruce do the same thing?

For the Mets, it was worth finding out. It was worth trying to fit him into their lineup, even though he’s a corner outfielder and the other guys they want to play (Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto) are also corner outfielders.

Collins will have to figure it out. Maybe Conforto can handle center field. Maybe Cespedes’ sore right quadriceps (which kept him out of the lineup again Monday) will heal enough that he can return to center field.

Maybe it works out. Remember, Cespedes wasn’t a center fielder when the Mets acquired him a year ago, but he ended up starting there 39 times and 10 more times in the postseason.

It’s worth the chance again. Outfield defense could sink the Mets in these final two months, but a lack of offense was the bigger problem they had to solve. Once the Milwaukee Brewers weren’t interested in what they had to offer for Jonathan Lucroy, Bruce was by far the best option they could get.

“All we can do is acquire as many good players as we can to maybe have that magic again,” Alderson said.

It’s not a perfect fit. It’s not a perfect deal.

But for a team still good enough to dream, it was a trade worth making.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jay Bruce to Mets: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

The New York Mets traded for Cincinnati Reds traded outfielder Jay Bruce on Monday in exchange for Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell, the team announced.

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball first reported the deal.

“The only thing to do now is go play baseball,” Bruce told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. “I’m a baseball player, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Bruce enjoyed a slight uptick in production last year after a lackluster 2014 season that saw him post a career-low .281 on-base percentage in 137 games. In 2015, he lowered his strikeout rate, increased his walk rate and hit 26 home runs, right in line with his career average.

The veteran outfielder previously found himself on the trade block leading up to the deadline last July. He didn’t end up getting moved at the time and said afterward that a trade would have felt weird, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer noted.

“It’s nice that other teams are interested in you,” Bruce said. “But on the other hand, you grow up in this organization. This is all I know. This is like family to me.”

This move is a bit atypical from Cincinnati’s perspective. Rarely do you see a 29-year-old player in the middle of his prime with a trio of 30-homer seasons on his resume get traded. That’s especially true when he’s under team control for another season, as is the case here, per Spotrac.

Those circumstances suggest the Reds are trying to maximize the return with Bruce enjoying a much improved 2016 campaign.

The trade is a reasonable investment considering his power-hitting history, age and contract situation. It’s not like the Mets are acquiring a high-risk, high-reward player on a rental basis and giving up an elite prospect to do it. This is a stable move, and Bruce will give the Mets another power hitter in the middle of the lineup.

With the move for Bruce, it’s clear the Mets are going all-in to make a deep postseason run.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jay Bruce’s Big-Time Power Would Fill Missing Link in Dodgers Offense

By the time you finish reading this sentence, Jay Bruce may have already become the newest member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But if he’s still on the Cincinnati Reds by the time you’ve gotten to this sentence, we can only go so far as imagining how well Bruce would fit in Dodger blue.

Bruce’s name has been linked to the Dodgers, who began Friday with just a two-game deficit in the NL West, on the rumor mill here and there throughout the last couple of weeks. But the real whopper came Friday evening. As reported by ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, there’s a plot afoot that could land the veteran right fielder in Los Angeles ahead of the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline:

We don’t know much more, save for one detail that’s equal parts plausible and significant.

Twitter was abuzz with speculation about Yasiel Puig possibly being involved in the deal, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported the Dodgers and Reds couldn’t work out a deal involving Puig and Bruce. 

With Puig out of the picture, a report from Jon Morosi of MLB Network suggests the Dodgers will need to pony up prospects to get Bruce. Because Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been protective of his farm system, it shouldn’t be taken as a certainty that a deal will get done.

But if a deal is made, Bruce will be a fit for the Dodgers lineup in more ways than one.

With an .895 OPS through 95 games, Bruce would be a major upgrade for a right field spot that hasn’t given the Dodgers much offensive production. No thanks to Puig and his disappointing .693 OPS, the Dodgers entered Friday getting just a .713 OPS out of right field. That ranked in the bottom five of MLB.

But Bruce’s real appeal? Pictured here, that would be his expertise in the matter of clobberage:

With six dingers in his last five games, Bruce is already up to 25 home runs in 2016. That puts him just one short of his 2015 total and within reach of his career high of 34.

A power bat of that magnitude is just what the doctor ordered for this Dodgers lineup. It entered Friday ranked ninth in the National League in home runs and 12th in slugging percentage.

The Dodgers have hitters with good power, to be sure, but some of them come with question marks. For example, here’s Buster Olney of ESPN.com with a not-so-encouraging Adrian Gonzalez observation:

Super-rookie Corey Seager is also struggling with power all of a sudden, as there’s a goose egg in his home run column for July. Albeit with an injury absence in the middle, Joc Pederson has homered only six times since May 18.

Of course, it’s fair to view both Bruce’s power and overall production with a skeptical eye. He’s 29, which is a little old to be coming into career-best power. And after he managed just a .695 OPS across 2014 and 2015, what he’s doing this year may also seem too good to be true.

But poor health played a significant role in Bruce’s struggles in ’14 and ’15. He had to have surgery on his left knee in 2014, and his recovery from that seemed to last into the next season.

One way to tell he’s legitimately back this season, though, is by looking at how hard he’s hitting the ball. It shows in his surface-level stats, but even better is how he entered Friday with a career-best 37.8 hard-hit percentage.

“I just feel stronger,” Bruce told Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com in May. “I hit a lot of balls on the ground the last two years, and I usually don’t do that too, too much. I think in 2014, it had something to do with my knee. And I think in 2015, the bad habits I had carried over. So it’s just fixing that. I haven’t felt terrible, haven’t felt great. I’m just trying to keep my blinders on and go to work.”

As August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs highlighted in the spring, another thing to look for in 2016 would be whether the lefty-swinging Bruce was capable of hitting with power to the opposite field. Sure enough, his oppo power has gone way up:

  • 2014: .313 SLUG%
  • 2015: .374 SLUG%
  • 2016: .686 SLUG%

To boot, Bruce hasn’t needed the cozy confines of Great American Ball Park to boost his power. He has hit for more power (.608 SLUG%) on the road than he has at home (.538 SLUG%).

Add it all up, and you get power that would play at Dodger Stadium and make the Dodgers lineup more dangerous. That’s not a happy thought for the San Francisco Giants. Their lead in the NL West has shrunk in part because the Dodgers offense has gotten better every month even without a steady power presence.

If there’s a silver lining for the Giants and others who would be tasked with silencing a Dodgers lineup with Bruce in it, it’s that adding him wouldn’t provide the kind of balance L.A. needs.

Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick aside, the Dodgers offense skews left-handed. That’s helped lead to the league’s worst OPS against left-handed pitching. The struggle would continue with Bruce, who turns into a lesser hitter against same-side pitching.

Still, the Dodgers’ platoon split hasn’t barred them from getting this far. That has a lot to do with how their offense is coming together at the right time. Adding Bruce to the mix could allow it to take off.

All they have to do now is get a deal done.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Bruce Ties Reds Record with Home Run in 5th Straight Game

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce tied a franchise record during the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants, hitting a home run in a fifth consecutive game, per Sportsnet Stats.

Stepping up to the plate with no outs and nobody on base, Bruce got a first-pitch fastball from Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and lined it over the right field fence at At&T Park.

Bumgarner then retired the final six batters he faced, but his eight-inning, two-run effort wasn’t quite enough, as Reds starter Dan Straily limited the Giants to just one run over 7.2 innings.

Giants outfielder Angel Pagan singled off Reds closer Tony Cingrani to open the bottom of the ninth, but the 27-year-old lefty then retired San Francisco’s 3-4-5 hitters in order to close out the game.

In addition to tying a team record shared by a slew of players, Bruce joined Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis as the only MLB players with five-game homer streaks this season, per MLB Stat of the Day.

The 29-year-old could likely return a top prospect if he’s traded before Sunday’s deadline, as he carries a reasonable $12.5 million salary for 2016, along with a $13 million team option for 2017, per Spotrac.

Already enjoying a strong season before his recent outburst, Bruce is now on pace for 40 home runs, 127 RBI and 95 runs—each of which would represent career-high marks.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz Surrounding Chris Sale, Jay Bruce and More

There are just a few days left before Major League Baseball’s August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, and the rumor mill is replete with tidbits regarding some of the best players in the league.

With their starting rotation in tatters and the NL West lead in sight, the Los Angeles Dodgers are ready to make moves and acquire a front-line starting pitcher. Should that pitcher be Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, the Dodgers are reportedly not above parting with a top prospect, according to the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman

As of Monday, the Dodgers’ sense was the White Sox were not yet motivated to move Chris Sale or even well-regarded No. 2 starter Jose Quintana. But I have heard if that changes, the Dodgers would be more aggressive with Sale than they were with Hamels, up to including top prospect, lefty Julio Urias, to front a strong package. The Dodgers would not include Urias for Hamels last July.

This would be quite the blockbuster deal if it went down. Sale is one of the best starting pitchers in the league, and Urias is perhaps the most highly regarded prospect in the league. With that said, it would be tough to see the 19-year-old go.

Former Dodger and current Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke once called Urias “the most perfect pitching prospect I’ve ever seen,” per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The kid already throws four pitches well, all of them at different speeds. He has ultra-smooth mechanics, is left-handed and improved upon a rocky introduction to the majors before being sent back down to the minors on Friday. All of this as a teenager.

But the Dodgers are interested in winning right now. They’re sporting the league’s highest payroll and yet fighting against injuries and poor production in some spots to keep this from being a write-off year. Falling out of the NL West chase or missing out on a wild-card spot would be unacceptable.

Since Urias isn’t quite ready for prime time, it’s understandable that the Dodgers might be willing to part with him for a pitcher like Sale.

Sale, also a lefty, is 14-3 on the year with a 3.18 ERA and 1.008 WHIP, per Baseball-Reference.com. He’s made the All-Star Game five years running. 

Not that it matters a whole lot to the cash-rich Dodgers, but Sale’s contract is highly favorable. He’s owed $12 million in 2017, per Spotrac, and has club options for the next two seasons. He’s not a rental, and he’s a sure thing as far as talent and production go, whereas Urias, for all the praise, is still just a potential sure thing.

Of course, Sale’s recent, bizarre jersey-cutting incident that earned him a five-game suspension isn’t going to endear him to prospective suitors—unless they’re convinced it’s nothing more than a principled manifestation of his insatiable desire to win.

If the Dodgers are indeed willing to dangle Urias, it can only be for a player of Sale’s caliber. However, Urias‘ potential is so great that it’s more likely the Dodgers either try to work a trade without him involved or simply settle for a lesser pitcher than Sale.

While Sale is enticing for teams looking for help on the mound, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is catching the eye of several teams looking for more punch at the plate. Per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, at least four teams are interested in Bruce: 

Bruce provides some serious pop at the plate, with 24 home runs and 78 RBI on the year. One team that could be looking at Bruce is, in fact, the Dodgers.

As the Los Angeles Times‘ Bill Shaikin notes, the Dodgers’ outfielders haven’t provided much power this season:

Although he’s making fine contact since returning from a June injury, Yasiel Puig still hasn’t found a way to generate big hits with his bulging muscles, tallying just two home runs and 12 RBI in his last 26 games. If the Dodgers do go for Bruce, Puig could be on his way out, as has been rumored this season.

However, injuries to Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu likely have the Dodgers focused more on bolstering the rotation, as evidenced by the Sale rumors.

Should the market not materialize to the Reds’ liking, RedReporter.com’s Wick Terrell notes that they could hold onto Bruce awhile longer: 

It’s obvious that the Reds are trying hard to trade Bruce, and to his credit, his play of late can only be helping their cause.  However, Cincinnati does have the option of holding on to him past the August 1st non-waiver deadline, picking up his option, and attempting to trade him when there are more teams interested and the projected free agent OF market is as weak as expected. That’s a huge risk, of course – one The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan looked at last week – as Bruce’s disastrous 2nd half sent his overall value into the toilet. As streaky as he’s been in his career, trusting Bruce to sustain what he’s shown so far is a gamble the Reds may not want to take.

Bruce is on a tear as of late, which could spur a contender into offering up a dazzling prospect or two for his services. But the 39-61 Reds aren’t dealing from a position of total weakness here, so it could be that the 29-year-old Bruce remains in Cincy until the team brass finds a deal that suits them.

While there’s a fair chance Bruce isn’t traded before the August 1 deadline, it seems all but certain that the San Diego Padres will unload starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, despite his remaining with the team through Tuesday’s start against the Toronto Blue Jays. 

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, there was a chance that San Diego would trade Cashner before his start on Tuesday.

There was similar chatter leading up to his start against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21, but Cashner took the mound in both cases. Rosenthal added context once the game against the Blue Jays—which ended in an embarrassing walk-off loss for the Friars—began:

The Padres must be happy that they haven’t pulled the trigger on a deal yet, because Cashner keeps putting together quality performances. 

Cashner is well aware his time with the Padres is short, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Dennis Lin, “I’ve made some great relationships.”

While he’s unlikely to assume the mantle of a staff ace on whatever team snaps him up, Cashner is a dependable pitcher who only rarely has a meltdown start.

He’s dealt with a couple of injuries this season, but his recent form shows that he’s done well to put those troubles behind him. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest on Chris Archer, Jonathan Lucroy and More

With time running out until MLB‘s non-waiver trade deadline, nearly half of the league is sandwiched together atop the standings.

Fourteen teams have accumulated at least 50 victories. Shortly before the non-waiver trade window shuts on Aug. 1, a clear line divides the contenders and pretenders. Given the parity at the top, every playoff hopeful can convince itself that one or two shrewd moves will catalyze a championship run.

Such a climate could create chaos over the next 10 days. Some of the most popular trade candidates remain on the rumor mill, even if all of them aren’t veterans on expiring contracts.

Their availability might be only for show, but let’s examine the latest buzz on some of baseball’s best players on the market.


Chris Archer

If there’s a player a small-market seller shouldn’t shop, it’s a 27-year-old ace, especially not when he’s on the books for a team-friendly contract through 2021. And especially not during a down year.

A year after registering a 3.23 ERA and 252 strikeouts for the Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer has posted an inflated 4.60 ERA in 2016. He’s on the hook for an MLB-worst 13 losses, only two of which qualified as quality starts.

It’s a poor time for Tampa Bay to move a struggling franchise centerpiece, but an anonymous team executive expressed confidence that the Los Angeles Dodgers would land him, per ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark:

Even if the Rays deal Archer, don’t expect them to sell low. Stark clarified their high asking price, which makes a move feel less certain than the previous source suggested:

Will the Dodgers pay up? Per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, an executive said they “have almost no choice but to overpay for a controllable starter such as Archer or [Chris] Sale,” with ace Clayton Kershaw possibly needing surgery. Another source previously told Rosenthal the Chicago White Sox turned down a “king’s ransom” for their rotation anchor.

If motivated to stay in playoff contention without Kershaw, the Dodgers have a deep enough farm system for an aggressive move. Top pitching prospects Jose De Leon, Grant Holmes and Frankie Montas could grab Tampa Bay’s attention. The crown jewel of their young talent, 19-year-old Julio Urias, would especially force the Rays to consider a blockbuster move.

Despite his 2016 struggles, Archer remains a top-shelf arm who has punched out 147 batters over 123.1 innings. Unless the Dodgers make a Godfather offer, he’ll stay put, with Matt Moore or Jake Odorizzi potentially moving instead.


Jonathan Lucroy

Milwaukee Brewers teammate Ryan Braun is a flashier household name, but Jonathan Lucroy stirs more excitement among contenders. The 30-year-old catcher is hitting .301/.357/.484 during a bounce-back year, and few peers garner more respect for their defensive work.

A $5.25 million club option for 2017—chump change for an elite two-way catcher—fortifies his trade value but allows Milwaukee the flexibility to stand pat if no offer whets its whistle. As a cheap upgrade for every team besides the San Francisco Giants, he’ll draw plenty of eager admirers before Aug. 1.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Cleveland Indians are one such suitor:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt added that the two sides will expand those negotiations to include relievers: 

Contrary to Olney‘s tweet, Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes reported Michael Brantley’s latest setback won’t intensify Cleveland’s pursuit of offensive help. Yet it’s reasonable to expect the American League Central leaders to address the worst catching production in baseball. 

Yet Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball dampened the likelihood of a transaction. 

“While an Indians person confirmed they talked about Lucroy, that possibility was downplayed, which makes sense since the Indians probably want to save their bullets for pitching,” Heyman wrote.

The Indians boast one of baseball’s premier rotations, but their bullpen is a sore spot, aside from Dan Otero and closer Cody Allen. Baseball Prospectus gives them an 97.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, so they should give serious thought to obtaining Lucroy and bullpen help from Milwaukee.


Jay Bruce and Josh Reddick

Not every maneuver needs to set the baseball community ablaze. For teams needing an offensive boost in a corner-outfield slot, Jay Bruce and Josh Reddick represent sensible choices who shouldn’t command top-flight prospects in return.

Since they fit the same role, it’s natural for their markets to intertwine. According to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, a few teams are eyeing both sluggers:

Boasting a .528 slugging percentage and 19 homers, Bruce represents the grander offensive upgrade. A $13 million club option for next year also tacks on more future worth than Reddick‘s expiring contract. Yet any buyer must consider the defensive repercussions.

Because of his minus-12.3 ultimate zone rating, the worst mark of any outfielder, Bruce grades out as a replacement-level player despite his demonstrative power. The Dodgers might be desperate enough for the power, and the Cubs could mask his shortcomings with baseball’s best defense. Heyman tossed the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals into the mix as well.

Reddick is no defensive wizard, and he has delivered significantly less power, with six long balls for the Oakland Athletics. The 29-year-old also, however, wields a higher weighted runs created-plus mark (121) than the Cincinnati Reds bruiser (117) thanks to his keen batting eye.

Per the San Francisco Chronicle‘s John Shea, Reddick indicated he “would love to” remain in Oakland. 

“It’s kind of disheartening something hasn’t been worked out so far, and we’ve been four months into it. It is what it is,” he said.

Oakland has rarely shown loyalty to its tenured players, so expect Reddick to go when the last-place franchise unloads before the deadline. He’s a two-month rental who can help a handful of contenders.


Note: All advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Contract information obtained from Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress