Offseason Rumours

The Blue Jays Just Can’t Quit Jay Bruce

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Every winter, without fail, you can always count on one thing when it comes to the Toronto Blue Jays; their reported interest in Jay Bruce.

For three consecutive offseasons and every subsequent trade deadline, the Blue Jays have been linked to Jay Bruce. No matter where he’s playing, regardless if Toronto is on his no-trade list or not, the Jays are always somehow inseparable from Jay Bruce.

This offseason is no different, as the Jay Bruce saga continues. The Toronto Blue Jays simply cannot quit Jay Bruce. I’ll give them this … at least they’re persistent.



Does it speak more to the Toronto Blue Jays’ consistent need for outfielders? Or is it more about adding a left-handed bat to the lineup? I think it’s a little bit of both, and that’s why Jay Bruce has been on the Blue Jays’ radar for this long.

After missing out on Dexter Fowler and Josh Reddick, Jay Bruce might be one of the Blue Jays’ last remaining appealing options in the outfield for 2017. The alternatives include Ben Revere, Brandon Moss, Michael Saunders and Rajai Davis.

I don’t really understand the Blue Jays’ long-standing fascination with Jay Bruce. Yes, he can hit for power. No, he can’t play defense. Yes, he strikes out a lot. No, I’m really not liking this proposed trade the more we talk about it.

The only saving grace with Jay Bruce is he’s a lefty … that’s about it. Even though there are two huge voids in the Blue Jays’ outfield in 2017, is it really worth acquiring a player who can’t field the ball well and is the exact type of hitter the organization is trying to rid itself of?

Evidently, the Blue Jays’ front office sees something in Jay Bruce. It wasn’t just Alex Anthopoulos, either; the latest regime came closest to reportedly landing Jay Bruce last offseason in exchange for Michael Saunders and a few other pieces.

In that particular case, I suppose Jay Bruce’s durability was attractive (he averaged 135 games played per season from 2010-2015) compared to Michael Saunders’ injury concerns. In that regard, a lefty outfielder with power for an oft-injured lefty outfielder with some power made sense as a trade last offseason.

However, 2017 is a much different scenario for the Blue Jays. If they wanted a Michael Saunders-type player, they should just sign Michael Saunders outright and not trade for him in a different iteration named Jay Bruce.

The acquisition cost of Jay Bruce from the New York Mets would likely be low, but the Blue Jays would still be on the hook for his $13 million salary in 2017. Unless the Mets are kicking in some cash, the Jays not only have to pay Bruce’s salary, but they’d also need to give up something in return … all for only one year of control for Jay Bruce.



The other name being bandied about is also Curtis Granderson, who makes so much more sense for the Blue Jays. Granderson is more of a well-rounded player than Bruce, Granderson is more of an offensive threat, and he’s less of a defensive liability in the outfield.

The only hitch? Curtis Granderson is currently 35 years old and is poised to make $15 million in 2017. But again, if you’re going to give up prospects for Jay Bruce, why not give up a little more for Curtis Granderson?

If the Blue Jays were to acquire Jay Bruce, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Blue Jays need starting outfielders … and Jay Bruce is an outfielder. The Blue Jays wanted to get more left-handed this offseason, and Jay Bruce is a lefty.

Unless the front office is working on something much bigger beneath the surface, they need to take a flier on a free agent outfielder and trade for another one (the very likes of Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson).

For the Blue Jays, this offseason has been all about spreading around the resources rather than just allocating most of it towards a Dexter Fowler or Edwin Encarnacion. Jay Bruce (or whoever fills one of the Blue Jays’ outfield spots) would represent another branch in the Blue Jays’ philosophy this offseason.

In a vacuum, trading for Jay Bruce doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Blue Jays. Bruce runs completely counter to the run prevention model (which Stoeten wrote about at Blue Jays Nation).Bruce also embodies the exact type of hitter which left the Blue Jays extremely vulnerable last year.

But accompanied by bringing in a few relief arms, perhaps another left-handed hitter (preferably an outfielder) and finding a suitable backup catcher, then maybe a trade for Bruce doesn’t look so awful?

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Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his son for the next 20 years.

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2 Comments

  1. Alan V

    December 20, 2016 - 9:58 am

    Just say no to Jay Bruce. Honestly, it pisses me off on principle, this management seemingly stubbornly set on guys other than Joey Bats or Edwin, when the costs and limitations of some of these other players don’t seem to offer any more value. I get it if they intend to change the clubhouse culture from JB. But then why didn’t they pony up for Fowler a bit more? I really fear Jays are becoming caught in between contending and rebuilding. One thing no one is talking about is idea of a return for Saunders. Not the sexiest idea, I know; but his cost must be lowered by draft pick, glut of similar guys, etc. And he brings a lot of the very attributes they’re desparately trying to acquire! Him plus one power bat would balance things a lot more.

  2. Alan V

    December 20, 2016 - 10:04 am

    I hope they’re maybe thinking bigger – as I am sure AA would in this situation. Maybe need to look at dealing for someone. Hate to dangle him, but I’d consider moving Travis (injury prone but attractive for some piece back – Minn in pkg for Dozier?); possibly Stro, if return was high end player like Cutch. I’d be ok with Granderson, if we didn’t give up much. And honestly, package Pillar – guy you cheer for, but ten cent head, and no clue at the plate. Slider down and away 1st pitch – strike one and two, every time. Somebody show him some video. Sit him down’ d’oh, there it is again! Somebody, pls. Hello?

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