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Jay Bruce wants a hyper-extension

Bruce wants to be a lifer like his best teammate Joey. Would you extend his extension right now with the leverage the Reds would seem to have?

Greg Fiume

This was a surprise item from Mark Sheldon, about Bruce's strong desire to stay in Cincinnati for life:

... the 25-year-old would like to sign an extension that would enable him to possibly finish his career in Cincinnati.

Bruce is interested in adding another six years to the deal. The timing might seem odd since he is already under a contract that is guaranteed through 2016.

"[Bruce] made it clear that he wants to be a Red his entire career," Bruce's agent, Matt Sosnick, said. "[Joey] Votto is in his wedding in a couple of weeks and he wants to play with him. He has a lot of friends there. He and his fiancee are very comfortable in Cincinnati. Jay asked me to approach the team and see if something is there. We'll see if the team has any interest."

Surprising because Bruce already has an extension. And because ballplayers don't often turn the tables and approach teams about extension - at least ballplayers who have superstar potential and could still get a Big Contract on the free agent market down the road.

But Bruce is getting married soon. He's not afraid of commitment. He likes it here, he's got buds and he's never known another organization.

In cynical negotiating terms, the Reds have the leverage:

  • Bruce is coming off what was basically a plateau year. If you factor his defense, his value might be a shade lower than it was when he signed his extension.
  • He's asking for financial security on top of what the Reds already gave him, for what would mostly be post-prime years
  • He's showed his hand. Knowing his mind, theReds don't necessarily have to make a major enticement for him to stay.

It kinda sucks to put this deal in the boardroom, though. Bruce likes it here. We like him here. I'd love to see him become a Red for life, but there are some reservations.

With Jay already locked up potentially through a team option year in 2017, the front office can sit back and see (for example) how much some of his peaks and valleys even out and what level his defense finds. His home/away splits don't seem that relevant if he's staying at home, but they also put a cap on his potential if they stay so jagged.

The Reds also have Mat Latos and Homer Bailey to think about this offseason. It makes me a little queasy to see a lot more money get commitment, but they should be focusing on how they can get surplus value on the cheap. Walt could get a home-town discount by adding a few years to Bruce's contract, while also restructuring in a way that frees up a milly or two next season.