Report: Reds, Angels, Blue Jays reviewing medicals to complete Jay Bruce trade

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Update (12:15 AM EST): ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the deal has hit a snag over one of the player’s medicals. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick hears that the problematic player is Saunders, which doesn’t really come as much of a surprise.


Monday’s previous report appears to be coming to fruition: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Reds, Angels, and Blue Jays are reviewing the medicals for players involved in a trade that would send outfielder Jay Bruce from the Reds to the Blue Jays, outfielder Michael Saunders from the Blue Jays to the Angels, and prospects (from either or both of the Jays and Angels) to the Reds. Once that is out of the way, it is believed that the three-team trade will be finalized.

The Jays acquired Saunders, 29, from the Mariners in December 2014 in exchange for pitcher J.A. Happ. Saunders had surgery on his left knee in February but it bothered him for the rest of the year. He has, for several seasons, been a popular breakout candidate but injuries have always been a roadblock for him. If Saunders can stay healthy, he could claim a starting role in left field for the Angels, sending Daniel Nava to the bench.

The Reds get to clear Bruce’s $12.5 million salary — plus a $1 million buyout for the 2017 season — from the books as they continue their rebuilding process. It’s been a couple of years since Bruce was a big threat at the plate. Since the start of the 2014 season, he has hit a mediocre .222/.288/.406 with 44 home runs and 153 RBI over 1,194 plate appearances. The Blue Jays, however, have a right-handed-heavy lineup so Bruce will add a bit more balance in that regard. With Jose Bautista in right field, Bruce is likely to move across the field to left.

It’s not known yet which prospects will be involved nor how much money will be changing hands. Once that information is made available, we’ll provide an update here.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”