Just about three weeks ago, I stated the obvious: the San Francisco Giants needed Jay Bruce, and they needed him right that very moment. The banged up outfield was without Angel Pagan for a series of weeks and All Star Hunter Pence for a couple of months, leaving a clear void in both the field and the lineup for a team with yet another World Series run set in their sights.
Turns out, the level of obviousness was quite high, since the Giants have indeed inquired about Bruce, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman. As Schulman notes, however, the Giants have not yet heard back from the Cincinnati Reds, something that's simultaneously jaw-dropping and somewhat affirming. The Reds, of course, have always played their cards quite close to their vest, and as long as Walt Jocketty is still steering the ship, that's something we should all expect as protocol.
It's worth noting that holding on to Bruce to this point in time has, for now, been one of the single best moves that the Reds' front office has made in the midst of this massive rebuild. The 29 year old OF is in the midst of an offensive career year, leading the NL in doubles, posting a career-best 140 OPS+, and ranking second in the senior circuit RBI race, and that's gone a long way to push the memories of the awful 2014 and 2015 seasons out of both his mind and the minds of prospective suitors. Bruce has undoubtedly recouped much of his value, and the $13 million team option for 2017 on his contract has gone from being viewed as merely a $1 million buyout for inquiring teams to a potential bargain for a power hitting corner outfielder who is still in the prime of his career.
I assume the Giants will hear back eventually, though I'm not sure they'll be excited when Walt asks for a ton in return. Still, it's clear that the best of the best in baseball have interest in adding a key Reds asset, something we'll be seeing a lot in the news between now and the July 31st deadline.