Every time Jay Bruce homers, I wonder if it’s the last time I’ll see him round the bases in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Tonight in Cincinnati, he hit a monstrous clout to right center for his 15th home run of the season. It allowed the Reds to beat the Cubs 5-4. Bruce also doubled and is now hitting .255 on the season.
I really hope that the sun hasn’t set on Bruce’s Reds career. There’s no doubting he is an enigmatic player. But Bruce is in one of the best stretches of his career. Since May 16th he’s hitting over .310 with an OPS well north of .900 and a slugging percentage over .550, all hallmarks of a quality middle of the order hitter.
In a perfect world, Bruce continues to progress and the Reds don’t get quite the offer they hope to by broadcasting to the baseball world that he can be had. They work out a reasonable extension for him to remain part of the solution in Cincinnati – players like Bruce could make the ‘rebuild’ just a bit shorter. Plus, I still want a reason to go to the park. Bruce is at the core of the guys I have a personal attachment to. He has 197 career regular season homers as a Reds player. If you get an offer that brings a top tier prospect, make the deal. If not – you don’t trade a productive player like Bruce just to trade him.
I am a bit puzzled at why the Reds have made Bruce so willingly available but a guy like Todd Frazier whom is under team control similarly until 2017 is not available. You can’t have it both ways. Both should fit the profile of a guy who can be moved, or neither. The Reds have no viable replacement for Bruce being roadblocked in the minor leagues, so I just don’t see a reason to up and move him.
That said, the things are falling into place as I thought they would. The perfect storm for Bruce to be moved. The Reds aren’t very good, the All Star Game is completed, and Bruce is playing pretty well. This is kind of what I saw coming down the pipeline back in March. I think we’re seeing Jay Bruce’s final days as a Red, and it kind of sucks.
It’s kind of shitty being the fan of a small market team. There are teams in the game who have the ability to keep a homegrown talent if they so choose. It seems like the Reds are following some unwritten rule, almost conforming to think because it’s time to rebuild, you move a multiple season All-Star corner outfielder just to get something done. And for the fans, it does suck. We’ll see how this plays out, and eulogize his career in Cincinnati properly should we have to in the near future.