Bruce becomes arbitration-eligible year early

Bruce becomes arbitration-eligible year early

CINCINNATI -- Right fielder Jay Bruce is due to receive a rather nice financial windfall this winter. Bruce officially qualified for salary arbitration this winter after he earned a designation known as "Super 2" status.

Bruce is one of several players who have Major League service time that ranked in the highest 17 percent of players with less than the usual threshold of three years to be eligible for arbitration.

After the 2010 season, Bruce had two years and 125 days of big league service time -- which means he became arbitration eligible with three days to spare. Players with at least two years and 122 days of service were granted Super 2 status, which means they'll get a fourth year of arbitration eligibility instead of the usual three years.

A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration under the usual rules. Bruce will join teammates Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Bill Bray, Jared Burton, Corky Miller and Laynce Nix as arbitration-eligible players.

Last winter, the cutoff for Super 2 was two years and 139 days. Bruce, 23, debuted with the Reds on May 27, 2008.

In 148 games this season, Bruce set career bests as he batted .281 with 25 home runs and 70 RBIs. He earned near the league-minimum of $440,000 and was poised to earn a similar figure had he not qualified.

Whether Bruce goes through the arbitration process or agrees to a deal before, he'll command a seven-figure salary.

Last month, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty indicated he would be interested in exploring multi-year contracts for players like Votto, Bruce and Volquez to head off the arbitration process and control costs long term.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.