Will Reds keep or trade Bruce by Deadline?

Will Reds keep or trade Bruce by Deadline?

SAN DIEGO -- As the non-waiver Trade Deadline nears, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has gotten on one torrid home run streak. What Bruce doesn't know is if his streak will continue with the Reds or with another club.

Bruce, who has six homers in five games and tied a club record on Wednesday with a five-game streak with at least one home run, headlines speculation if he will be moved by Cincinnati ahead of Monday's 4 p.m. ET Deadline. To this point, Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty has been surprised that he hasn't fielded more calls.

"I would expect things to probably over the weekend get a little more engaged," Jocketty said.

ESPN reported Wednesday that the pace had "picked up" on trade talks for Bruce, with the Mariners being interested. Jocketty downplayed the level of heat surrounding those talks.

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"There are clubs that have been engaged on Jay for a while," he said. "It's basically the same clubs, but no one has really come up and been very aggressive. I can't say anything is going to happen imminently. It's not in that position right now."

Bruce is batting .271/.323/.572 with 25 home runs and a National League-leading 79 RBIs. He is on pace for 40 home runs and 126 RBIs, which would both be career highs. The 29-year-old is making $12.5 million this season, and he has a $13 million club option for 2017, with a $1 million buyout.

Besides Seattle, the Dodgers, Giants and possibly the Indians are among teams that need left-handed power and a corner outfielder.

If Bruce isn't dealt by Monday, the Reds could try to move him after Aug. 1 and hope he clears waivers, which would be unlikely. After that, Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams must decide whether or not to pick up Bruce's option and try trading him in the offseason. Or Cincinnati could decline the option, letting Bruce become a free agent.

"It makes it a little more difficult, with what direction we decide to go," Jocketty said. "We both feel strongly that if the value is not there, [a trade is] just not going to happen.

"I think we want a legitimate prospect. He has value as a player. … We're certainly a better team with Jay right now. But if we can find a deal that makes sense for us -- short term and long term -- we'll make it."

After coming off two very down years, Bruce was almost dealt to the Blue Jays at the start of Spring Training. The trade was held up by medical red flags on one of the returning prospects, and it proved beneficial that Jocketty and Williams waited.

"His value is certainly higher now, no question about it," Jocketty said.

As for other Reds players, Jocketty said there has been "no discussions" for shortstop Zack Cozart, who can be a free agent after next season. There is no thought of dealing Dan Straily, a starting pitcher who is inexpensive and likely wouldn't net a big return. Rotation ace Anthony DeSclafani would bring more value in a return, but he also doesn't appear to be headed anywhere.

"I don't think we'd consider anything," Jocketty said of DeSclafani. "Clubs inquire about certain players, but never want to trade you anything, so what's the point?"

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.