After months of speculation and rumors, the Reds finally pulled the trigger on trading Jay Bruce Monday in a deal which sent the right fielder to the New York Mets.
The move should come as little surprise as the Reds are in a clear rebuilding phase and have been unloading their most valuable assets since last season. Bruce now joins Todd Frazier, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman as guys who have been traded by the Reds to contenders.
However, the Reds also benefited massively from Bruce putting together possibly the best year of his career so far and sold higher on him than they possibly could have one or two years ago.
As the calendar turns to August, Bruce has his highest batting average since 2010, hitting .265 thus far. He is also on pace for 42 home runs and 133 RBIs, both of which would be new career highs by a wide margin.
The departure of Bruce is a bittersweet one as it ends an eight-year run with the Reds. Bruce was originally drafted by the Reds and had been a major part of the major-league club since 2008.
He also leaves Cincinnati ranked eighth on the club’s home-run list, beating out names such as Ken Griffey Jr., Ed Davis and now-former teammates Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.
Bruce will now join a Mets team in desperate need of his .360 average with runners in scoring position as they have been the worst-scoring team in baseball since the All-Star break.
The only question will be how they organize the outfield with Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson already out in New York.
In return for Bruce, the Reds received a pair of minor leaguers in second baseman Dilson Herrera and left-handed pitcher Max Wotell.
Herrera is a 22-year-old who has seen some time in the majors, but has not had much success. He batted .211 for the Mets during his time with them in 2015 and has recorded a .276 average with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs in Triple-A this season.
19-year-old Wotell was drafted by the Mets in the 2015 draft and has recorded a 3-1 record with a 4.25 ERA this season in the short-season Appalachian League. Wotell seems more like a long-term project and might not see the major leagues for a few more years.
The end of July is always an exciting time as big-name players are floated around in a last-ditch effort to make deals happen. The Jay Bruce trade is one of those many deals and brought an end to a lengthy relationship between Bruce and the Reds organization.
Time will tell whether it will make the Mets a contender and whether the prospects gained will help the Reds in the long-term.