Mariners linked to Reds’ All-Star OF Jay Bruce as trade deadline nears

Jul 28, 2016, 3:01 PM
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says the Mariners have shown interest in Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. (AP)...
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says the Mariners have shown interest in Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. (AP)

The Mariners still seem to be caught in trade-deadline limbo – not necessarily a buyer, not necessarily a seller – but Reds slugger Jay Bruce is among the players they may be willing to bend for.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted Wednesday that the M’s have asked about the 29-year-old outfielder.

Bruce has been on a tear of late, hitting home runs in five straight games, which gives him 25 on the season along with a National League-best 79 RBIs. He’s on pace or a career-high 40 home runs and is posting a .271/.323/.572 slash line.

Moore: Mariners don’t look like playoff team with so many pitching issues

The Mariners entered Thursday two games above .500 and 4.5 games out of the American League’s second Wild Card spot. Whether the most prudent move would be to buy, sell or stand pat is up for debate, but general manager Jerry Dipoto said earlier this month that he will be “opportunistic” at the deadline. The roster has already changed twice since last week, and 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk noted that is just a small sample of the flurry of trades Dipoto has made since being hired in September 2015.

“Maybe he’s addicted to making moves, I don’t know,” Salk said. “I think that’s a good thing. And I think it’s one of the things we like about Jerry is that he reminds us of what Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) did when they first got to Seattle – churning through the roster trying to get a combination that fits.”

Despite his resurgence at the plate following two down seasons, Bruce might not be an ideal fit for Dipoto’s vision. He doesn’t grade well in most defensive metrics, is strikeout prone and is not much of a base-stealer.

“He’s an adequate, to potentially a little above that outfielder who when he came up was supposed to be able to run around a little bit but hasn’t really materialized,” Salk said.

Bruce, the 12th overall pick in the 2005 draft, could be more than a one-year rental as his contract includes a $13 million team option for 2017.

Brock Huard said he was excited at first about the team being attached to a potentially bona fide difference-maker, but ultimately thought better of it.

“I don’t see him as being the fit that they need,” he said.

Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty told Thursday that there has been interest from multiple teams but that none are willing to meet his asking price, which he described as a “legitimate prospect.”

“There are clubs that have been engaged on Jay for a while, but they’re basically the same clubs,” Jocketty said. “No one’s really come up and been really aggressive with it. I can’t say anything’s going to happen imminently because we’re just not in that kind of position.”

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