On Monday, the Reds finally traded outfielder Jay Bruce after months of speculation. They sent him to the Mets in exchange for second baseman Dilson Herrera and minor league pitching prospect Max Wotell.
Wotell now ranks 22nd on the Reds’ list of top prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. Still, Reds starter Homer Bailey thinks his team got the short end of the stick in the trade. Per Joe Danneman of FOX19, Bailey said, “Unless [we] got a young Robinson Cano, I think they got us on that one.”
Bailey then praised Bruce’s ability to teach younger players how to play the game. “You can’t find a better example than that and you ship him out.”
Bruce, 29, leads the National League with 80 RBI along with 25 home runs and a .265/.316/.559 triple-slash line over 402 plate appearances. If he keeps it up through the end of the regular season, 2016 will be his best season to date.
The Reds are rebuilding, though, and Bruce doesn’t fit the timeline anymore. He has a club option for 2017 worth $13 million so he would have become a free agent after the ’17 season. The Reds wouldn’t sign him to a contract extension during their rebuild. It made a lot of sense to trade Bruce during a career year, when his trade value is as high as it will ever be. The Reds may not have gotten the next Cano, but Herrera is a former top prospect and Wotell is only 19 years old with promise. You can do a lot worse than that.
Bailey, of course, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2019, so he has some incentive to see the team try to win now rather than later. By the time 2019 rolls around, he’ll be 33 years old. He might be wearing a different uniform, too.