Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was thought to have been a huge trade chip last season as a left-handed, power hitting outfielder that came with a year-and-a-half of team control.
Aug. 1 came and Jay Bruce was still a Red.
But this season, Bruce has an even higher chance to be traded. The Reds are 34-58, sitting in last in the NL Central and are in full rebuild-mode. Bruce is a free agent at the end of the season, finishing off of a six-year, $51 million contract. And teams need him.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, six teams have already checked in on Bruce. These are the Indians, Rangers, Nationals, Orioles, Giants and Dodgers. The Blue Jays have also reportedly shown interest in Bruce.
In addition, all six of these teams have been in the markets for other outfielders such as Ryan Braun, Josh Reddick and perhaps even Carlos Gonzalez.
The 29-year-old Bruce was picked by the Reds in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 2005 MLB Draft and has been a staple in their lineup ever since coming up to the Major Leagues.
The three-time All-Star (including 2016) is a defensive liability, however, many teams value offensive contributions, especially on the left-handed side of the plate.
This season, Bruce is hitting .265/.317/.532 with 18 home runs and 64 RBI over 353 plate appearances in 86 games. Though according to FanGraphs, Bruce has only been worth 0.1 Wins Above Replacement.
This is because of his defense. Bruce has an awful -20.6 ultimate zone rating per 150 games (UZR/150), meaning that he would be almost 21 runs worse than the average right fielder in terms of range and making defensive plays.
Over his career, Bruce has always been an offense-first player, carrying a .249/.319/.467 line with 226 home runs and 644 RBI in parts of nine seasons. His career wRC+ of 107 suggests that he has been seven percent better offensively than the league-average hitter. This year, his wRC+ is 118.
As the Aug. 1 trade deadline quickly approaches, it's more than likely Jay Bruce will find himself in a new home.