Outfielder, right-hander among Reds generating interest
By Mark Sheldon
CINCINNATI -- Reds right fielder Jay Bruce isn't letting the upcoming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline consume his life. But it is a new experience for Bruce to be the subject of myriad trade rumors as his team appears poised to sell off some its key assets to retool for the future.
"I try not to put too much focus on it, but you hear what's going on and you hear the rumblings, especially with the way social media is," Bruce said on Monday. "You have no control over it. It's one of those deals where I come to the park and prepare to play every day. I play for the Reds until I don't anymore."
Bruce, 28, is attractive for clubs that need power and because of his contract. Signed through 2016, he is making $12 million this season, will earn $12.5 million next season and has a $13 million club option for 2017. Recent rumors have connected him to the Angels and Orioles.
After hitting go-ahead, two-run home run Monday night in 5-4 victory over the Cubs, Bruce has 15 home runs and 48 RBIs after he endured a poor 2014 season. He's hit 30 homers in three of his last four seasons.
Bruce has long maintained he wants to be a Red for his entire career, but he understands the nature of baseball business, and his team is way back in the playoff hunt.
"This is what happens when you get into situations like that," Bruce said. "This is all that I know. This organization raised me. When it comes to this kind of stuff, it's tough. On the other hand, I understand it's a business. The Reds have their best interests in mind. Teams trying to add pieces have their own best interests in mind. It's a necessary part of the game."
Bruce isn't even the most front-and-center of the Reds in trade rumors. Rotation ace Johnny Cueto is a free agent after the season and could be one of the most coveted starters on the trade market.
Several teams, including the Royals, have had scouts watching each of Cueto's starts. It would seem that Kansas City -- a small-market club like Cincinnati -- would be more reluctant to trade its top prospects for Cueto, who would be a 2015 rental before he hits the open market for what could be a $200 million contract during the offseason.
The Reds had a scout in Chicago over the weekend watching the Royals, including Danny Duffy, a left-handed starter. Duffy, who is arbitration-eligible for two more years, threw a career-high eight innings and allowed one run to defeat the White Sox in a 4-1 victory on Sunday.
"I feel that you have to keep your mind concentrated at all times," Cueto said through translator Tomas Vera about trade rumors after his own subpar start Sunday. "These are things that are happening. I don't decide things that are happening, I don't put things in my mind that aren't in my control, so I don't really care."