Bruce, Frazier focused on Reds despite rumors
CINCINNATI -- Two of the biggest ovations during player introductions at Redsfest on Friday night were for players whose time remaining with the Reds might be short-lived.
Right fielder Jay Bruce heard the familiar "Bruuuuuuuuce" bellowed by fans, and third baseman Todd Frazier was given the loudest applause of all. Along with closer Aroldis Chapman, all three players have been part of trade rumors this offseason as Cincinnati seeks to build for the future.
Neither Bruce nor Frazier are letting the talk affect them as they spend the weekend mingling among teammates and fans.
"I think it behooves them as an organization to always try to do what's best for the organization," Bruce said. "We're part of an organization that's much bigger than any one player. I think I trust they will make the decision they think is right. I'm fine with that, whatever it is."
"We know the business," Frazier said. "We know what to expect. It doesn't make it any different talking to your close friends and teammates and everybody else. I'm sure we'll hang out afterward and talk about baseball, and that's it."
Earlier on Friday, ESPN and FOX Sports reported that the Rangers were interested in Frazier, but with Texas already having All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre, it reportedly wanted Frazier for left field.
"I don't really focus on it, to be honest with you," Frazier said. "I saw a tweet from Ken Rosenthal that the Rangers were interested in me. It's funny to see, to be honest with you. Until your agent comes up and tells you something, it's pretty much hearsay and rumors. It's fun to see teams are interested in me. It means you're doing something right."
Frazier, who turns 30 in February, is two years away from being a free agent. He will earn $7.5 million in 2016, the second year of his two-year contract, and then he will be eligible for arbitration in '17.
When the Reds are ready to contend again in a couple of seasons, Frazier won't likely be in Cincinnati unless he signs an extension.
"I want to be a Red. I've expressed that a lot," Frazier said. "I want to be that leader that they have. I want to show them the right way to play professional baseball. Why not have it here in Cincinnati? If it takes a couple of years, it does. But I want them to know the right way to play."
Bruce, who will turn 29 on April 3, is due to make $12.5 million in 2016 and has a $13 million club option for '17 with a $1 million buyout.
"I'm the current No. 32, wearing No. 32 until the next guy wears No. 32," Bruce said. "It's a business. You're a player on the team. That's what it really boils down to. They would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn't listen on every single person."
Last month, Bruce was linked in a trade rumor to the Orioles -- a team that isn't included among the eight on his limited no-trade clause.
Like Frazier, Bruce would like to remain in Cincinnati.
"Since I was 18 years old, this is all that I've known," said Bruce, who was the Reds' first-round pick in the 2005 Draft. "This is the organization I know. Since I was 18, I've put all of the trust I have, as far as professionally, into this organization. I feel like they've always shown to me that they do the right thing based on the information they have."
When asked about some of the rumors involving Bruce and Frazier, Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty downplayed the talk.
"A lot of that is old information. Nothing is really happening," Jocketty said.
Bruce never gave any thought to missing out on Redsfest.
"Oh no. This is my job," he said. "If I wasn't on the team, I wouldn't come obviously. As long as I'm a Red, I'm a Red. To me, it's not, 'Do I want to come or not?' I understand what it means to the organization and the fans. It's a privilege to come here. It really is."
Chapman, who has been linked to several interested teams throughout the offseason, did not attend on Friday night.
"It's a tough situation," Bruce said. "His situation is definitely interesting. It's hard to pin down right now, based on everything that's been said and speculated."
For all of the rumors, the Reds do not appear to be close to making any deals as the Winter Meetings are set to begin on Monday at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
"We really haven't had a lot of discussion, with the exception of one player, maybe," said Jocketty, alluding to Chapman. "Other than that, it's been pretty quiet. I don't know what's going to happen when we get to Nashville. It's been pretty slow since Thanksgiving."
Bruce acknowledged that it's not easy to be part of a team in transition. He was part of the National League Central-winning clubs in 2010 and '12 and the '13 club that reached the NL Wild Card Game.
"It's weird to be in this position, looking at it from the veteran perspective as far as where we are as a team," he said. "When I came up, we were kind of in this stage, but I was just getting my feet wet. I was so consumed with becoming a Major Leaguer. Now I'm on the veteran side of it looking at all the guys coming up that are consumed with becoming Major Leaguers. I hope I'm part of the resurgence and getting back to where we expect to be."