It's been a long eighteen months for Jay Bruce. The Cincinnati Reds outfielder has watched the only franchise he's ever known enter full sell-off mode, and he's waved goodbye to numerous cogs of teams that won piles of games. He's seen his own name in trade rumors for much of that same time, too, all while trying to rediscover his swing in the middle of the worst slump of his professional career.
Bruce spoke to the media yesterday while in San Diego for the All Star Game, and it's clear he's reached the point of being ready to make a move. He told Today's Knuckleball's Jon Heyman that he's "not getting any younger," and that playing in a World Series is his primary goal at the moment (and presumably going forward). The latter comment likely was in reference to his own limited no-trade clause, included on which are both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox - teams that have deep playoff runs likely in their immediate futures.
(Our friends at Let's Go Tribe touched on the concept of a Bruce-to-Cleveland deal a bit over a week ago, by the way, and emphatically condemned the idea on the grounds of defensive metrics, Bruce's slumpitude, and the inevitable return of Michael Brantley.)
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick also got some quotes from Bruce, including one in which the Texan used the word "behooves," which makes me smile. The gist of Crasnick's conversation with Bruce revealed that the OF is both aware and on-board with the current rebuild in Cincinnati, and openly acknowledges that the team trading him to get younger, controllable assets will be a big part of expediting that process. It would behoove you to read it.
In other news, Adam Duvall was bested by former Red Todd Frazier in last night's Dinger Derby, and MLB.com's Adam Berry caught up with the Cincinnati LF to talk about the experience.
Here's an article from Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution featuring an interview with Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella. Why should you care? When answering questions about their use of the #3 overall selection in the recently completely 2016 draft on pitcher Ian Anderson and the overall direction of their rebuild, he had this to say:
"There’s so much attrition associated with pitching that you truly can never have enough talent or depth when it comes to arms," Coppolella says. "It’s great the Cubs built around bats, but that’s what was available to them in the draft. There was no Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber in the draft this year."
The Reds, of course, opted to select a bat with the #2 overall selection in University of Tennesee infielder Nick Senzel. Put that quote on your wall and grumble at it for the next fifteen years, Nick.
Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron is dropping his annual Trade Value Rankings this week, an exercise in which he uses a mix of current production, future production, age, projections, and contract status to determine which MLB players would fetch the most in return at this very moment were they traded. Linked here is the post on #31-40(since it has links to the introduction, #41-50 post, and Honorable Mentions post), and as always, it's a good read. Keep in mind that you aren't going to find any Reds or Reds prospects on this list, though, which is a reflection both on the current state of the team and the history of the front office not evaluating players with the same metrics that FanGraphs does.
Finally, Johnny Cueto will start for the National League in tonight's All Star Game, and for that we must celebrate.