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.