The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is now less than 20 hours away (4 PM ET on Friday), and big name after big name has been on the move in one of the more active weeks in recent memory. The Cincinnati Reds, though, have been rather quiet since trading free-agent-to-be Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals earlier this week, and that's despite them possessing multiple attractive trade pieces.
One such piece is RF Jay Bruce, and it appears that the offense-starved New York Mets have eyes on him after Wednesday's deal for Carlos Gomez fell through at the last minute. At least, that's what ESPN's Buster Olney has heard through the grapevine, with former top prospect Zack Wheeler bandied as the centerpiece of any return.
Reds willing to trade Jay Bruce to the Mets for Zack Wheeler now. Worth watching over the next 20 hours.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2015
It's not just the national writers who have heard that, either, as The Enquirer's John Fay later confirmed the rumor was, in fact, rumory.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Confirmed the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Reds?src=hash">#Reds</a> have interest in Zack Wheeler. Guessing it take more than him to get Bruce.</p>— John Fay (@johnfayman) <a href="https://twitter.com/johnfayman/status/626906840270512128">July 31, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Wheeler's currently sidelined as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but he was the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft by the San Francisco Giants and was repeatedly found in the Top 40 of every prospect list out there from 2011 to 2013. He was traded at the 2011 non-waiver deadline for half a season of Carlos Beltran - and that was when he was healthy - which means for 2.5 years of the currently red-hot Jay Bruce he'd have to just be the beginning of a package.
Mets' GM Sandy Alderson and Walt Jocketty go way, way back to their days with the Oakland A's, so there's no doubt there's been plenty of talking back and forth between the two. Couple that with a deadline inching ever closer and there's probably something juicy worth watching on the horizon.