Sources: Medical snag stalls Jay Bruce-to-Jays trade talks

ESPN logo
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A proposed three-team trade involving the Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels hit a snag Monday night during the medical review of the players involved, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.

The deal proposed would have sent Reds slugger Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays, with the Angels acquiring outfielder Michael Saunders from Toronto and the Reds getting a second-tier prospect apiece from the Angels and Blue Jays, sources confirmed earlier Monday.

A source told Olney that for now the deal is dead, though the player whose physical derailed the trade isn't known. The proposed trade was first reported Monday by the MLB Network.

Bruce met with reporters at Reds spring training camp in Goodyear, Arizona, on Tuesday morning and said he's still waiting for a resolution to his situation. He expressed concern that the constant trade updates will become a distraction in camp.

"I'm reading the same stuff everybody is putting out there,'' he said. "It's obvious the [Reds] are making an effort to get something done. We just have to wait and see. Like I've said from the beginning, the one thing I don't want to do is create a situation where I come in every day and answer the same questions.

"There's a lot of emotions that come with this. I tell myself all the time, 'Don't listen to the rumors,' but it's hard. I'm a human being. I pay attention to the stuff. It hasn't happened yet, and that's the bottom line. I'm here until I'm not. We'll see what happens.''

A source familiar with the trade talks told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that he thinks Saunders' knee is a concern. Saunders played in just nine games for the Blue Jays this past season due to left knee problems.

Saunders said he met with Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins and manager John Gibbons to discuss reports of the proposed trade.

"That's kind of the human element of it," Saunders said. "They made sure I wasn't paying any attention to the rumors, and they assured me that they're just rumors and nothing more. I expect to be a Jay, they expect me to be a Jay and that's how I'm approaching this spring training."

Atkins declined to delve into any specifics.

"There's a lot of trade rumors, there's a lot of trade discussion," he said. "We have them constantly. There's really nothing I can comment on about it."

Bruce, who turns 29 in April, and the Reds avoided arbitration when they agreed on a six-year contract after the 2010 season. This will be the last season of that contract. The Reds have an option for 2017, which they are not expected to use after Bruce completes his eighth full season in the majors.

As of this past season, Toronto was one of the teams Bruce could not be traded to without prior approval, but he removed the Blue Jays from his no-trade clause several months ago, a source told Crasnick.

Bruce's contract currently allows him to block trades to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Oakland A's and Tampa Bay Rays, the source said.

Bruce is one of only 16 players in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in each of his first six seasons. He is the only player to hit at least 20 home runs and increase his total each of the next four years.

His .217 batting average in 2014 and .226 batting average this past season, with strikeout totals of 149 and 145, respectively, caused his trade value to plummet.

Bruce had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in May 2014. He returned after two weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.