Reported Bruce three-team trade stalls

Outfielder arrives at Reds camp for first full-squad workout

February 23rd, 2016

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The reported three-team deal that would send Jay Bruce from the Reds to the Blue Jays is at least in jeopardy due to problems with a medical report, and according to one report on Tuesday, the trade is off. Meanwhile, Bruce was in the Reds' clubhouse on Tuesday for the team's first full-squad report day and workout.

The medical report involved a Toronto Minor Leaguer who presumably would have gone to Cincinnati, according to Ken Rosenthal of, who also said that the trade is dead. A source confirmed to that a medical report was the problem. Outfielder Michael Saunders would go from the Blue Jays to the Angels in the proposed deal.

"Obviously, I'm reading the same stuff you all are reading," Bruce said. "I'm reading some of the stuff you all are writing. It's obvious what's going on. They're obviously making an effort to try and get something done. We'll just have to wait and see. I've said from the beginning that until I'm not a Red, I'm a Red. I'm here right now, first day of workouts."

Bruce has been part of trade rumors dating to last summer, with more coming during the offseason. He arrived at camp on Sunday fully expecting to open the season in Cincinnati despite the speculation.

"The one thing I don't want to do is continue to create this type of situation," Bruce added. "I don't want to have to come in every single day and talk to guys and honestly, answer the same questions. It's nothing against y'all. Y'all are just trying to do a job, I understand that. We're in a special situation as it is here with this organization with the team. We have to be focused on the field. We have to focus on the task at hand. I don't want this to become something every single day. The team doesn't need this distraction. No one needs the distraction. I don't want to make it that."

None of the clubs has confirmed the status of the deal. MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the first to report Toronto's interest in Bruce, a former National League Silver Slugger Award winner, said on Tuesday that the Blue Jays, wanting a left-handed hitter, could try to acquire Bruce another way.

"Our good fortune is we've got a real pro in Jay Bruce, who is handling this stuff unbelievably well," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "It's challenging. The Trade Deadline is challenging. The offseason is as soon as names start popping up. Everything blows up last night. It doesn't make things any easier, but it's just kind of where we are with the game. I think the guys of this generation are getting conditioned that it's the lay of the land now.

"At this point in time, I really like thinking about Jay in right field."

The plan for the Reds appeared to be business as usual, and Bruce was expected to participate in camp on Tuesday.

"Whatever you guys are talking about, you may know more than I know," said Price. "There's a lot of blowing up on the Internet and articles written about Jay being traded. As far as I know, I will treat it as if he is -- and he is -- on our team. I won't change anything unless something happens. He's here. I expect him to be our right fielder, unless somebody tells me otherwise."

Reds' Spring Training info

Bruce has not been notified about a trade being the works by the Reds, but he understood the situation.

"My wife got here last night and hasn't unpacked her bags yet. She just got in yesterday," Bruce said. "It could have very well happened that we were back on the move. It's a tough thing to juggle. It's a very, very thin line to walk with an organization, because they want to give all the information they can, I'm sure. Last night, they could have called me last night and said, 'This thing is done,' and then an hour later say, 'Oh, wait.' I think they want to be certain they are providing me with the correct information, and I respect that."

Bruce, who turns 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. His power and production potential, combined with the relatively affordable contact, makes him attractive to other clubs.

Bruce has a limited no-trade clause to eight clubs -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics, Rays, Marlins, Twins, Indians and D-backs. It is worth noting that Toronto used to be on his no-trade list, but was removed during the offseason in favor of Cleveland.

The Reds made Bruce the 12th overall selection in the 2005 Draft, and he debuted in '08. Over his eight seasons, the two-time All-Star has batted .248/.319/.462 with 208 homers and 638 RBIs.

The past couple of seasons were tough for Bruce, who saw his offensive production sag dramatically. Over 2014-15, he averaged just .222/.288/.406 with 44 homers and 153 RBIs. He went from 5.3 wins above replacement in '13 to a minus-1.1 in '14 and a 0.8 WAR in '15.

Seeking to get younger and build for the future, the Reds traded pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake in July and dealt third baseman Todd Frazier and closer Aroldis Chapman in December. Efforts to trade second baseman Brandon Phillips fell through when he invoked his no-trade protection and did not approve a deal to the Nationals.

With Jose Bautista anchoring right field, Toronto would likely move Bruce to left field, where Saunders is the projected starter. Bruce hasn't played left since his rookie season in 2008.