Cincinnati Reds Rumors: New York Mets Interested in Jay Bruce


The Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets have been in trade discussions about right fielder Jay Bruce, according to a number of reports.

The main piece that would be coming back to the Reds in the deal would be pitcher Zack Wheeler. Wheeler had Tommy John surgery in March to repair his ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor pronator tendon. The  recovery time is expected to be 14 months, meaning he wouldn’t be ready until June 2016.

While coming through the Mets farm system, Wheeler was consistently ranked a top 100 prospect in all of baseball, ranking as high as No. 5 at one point (by Baseball Prospectus in 2013).

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Wheeler has made 49 big league starts, going 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA, 3.77 FIP, and 1.34 WHIP, striking out 8.5 hitters per nine innings and walking 3.9. The talent is there—Wheeler sports a fastball that can reach the upper-90s and has a great curveball—but it’s a risky move to take on a pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery, especially when you’re giving up a player as talented as Bruce.

Sure, there are a number of pitchers who have had the surgery and come back to be the same pitcher they were before (e.g. Jose Fernandez), but it’s no guarantee. Look no further than Reds’ recent acquisition John Lamb for evidence of that. Lamb was a top 15 prospect, had the surgery in 2011, and wasn’t the same when he came back. It took him years of reinventing himself to become a quality pitcher again.

The move would also seriously hinder the Reds’ 2016 offense, as it’s unlikely the team would be able to replace Bruce’s production in their lineup. And if they’re going to trade Bruce, there’s really no reason to hang on to Todd Frazier. Both have contracts that expire in 2017 and Frazier (29) is actually older than Bruce (28).

As of this morning, the Reds and Mets are still in talks, and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that many in baseball believe that a deal will be struck.

The deal may not be a certainty, however, as Newsday Sports’ David Lennon reports that the Mets are looking at other outfield options and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman sent out a tweet implying that the Reds may not be comfortable acquiring Wheeler.

Update: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the talks between may be losing steam, as the Reds are having reservations about the deal.

Update No. 2: The deal is seeming less and less likely to happen, as Rosenthal is now reporting that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty may not want to part with his right fielder.

Update No. 3: While it could be nothing, it’s worth noting that Bruce is not in the Reds lineup for tonight’s game against the Pirates, per Rosenthal.

Update No. 4: Bryan Price says Bruce is simply getting a scheduled day off.

Update No. 5: Per Bruce Levine, the Mets have acquired Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers, meaning Bruce is likely staying put.

We’ll keep updating this post with more on the Reds/Mets talks as more information becomes available.

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