New detail emerges on failed Jay Bruce-to-Blue Jays trade

Michael Saunders tells Blair and Brunt that he feels like a man on a mission this spring, as he works towards a redemption year, and says he assured GM Ross Atkins that it’ll be the best trade he never made.

A new detail has emerged regarding the potential three-team trade that would have seen Jay Bruce land with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The proposed late-February trade would reportedly have sent Bruce to the Blue Jays, Michael Saunders to the Los Angeles Angels and a handful of prospects to the Cincinnati Reds, but the deal apparently fell through due to medical issues surrounding a player involved.

It was revealed Thursday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Reds would have picked up approximately $8 million of Bruce’s $12.5 million salary as part of the trade.

“It sounds like the effort they were making to trade me was pretty diligent so it’s a big surprise that I came out on the other end of it so far,” Bruce told Nightengale. “I still would like to stay (in Cincinnati). I’ve been here since I was 18, and I always wanted to finish my career here. But I’m not naive to the fact that something could happen at any moment.”

The Reds are in the midst of a rebuild and Bruce would have added even more firepower to a stacked Blue Jays lineup. The 28-year-old left-handed batter had a .226/.294/.434 slash line with 26 home runs and 87 RBI last season. Bruce, whose contract includes a $13-million option for 2017 with a $1-million buyout, has hit at least 20 homers in seven of his eight MLB seasons.

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins had no comment on the potential trade at the time, but Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reported Bruce was said to have been very excited about the possibility of coming to Toronto. Bruce even removed the Blue Jays from his no-trade list this past off-season.

Since the near-trade, Saunders has performed well in spring training, answering questions about the knee injuries that sidelined him in 2015 and prompting Atkins to say that the best trades can be the ones you don't make.