Report: Blue Jays expected to pursue outfielder Jay Bruce

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Free agent right-fielder Jay Bruce is expected to “draw interest” from the Toronto Blue Jays this off-season, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Cafardo writes that the Blue Jays also pursued Bruce, a left-handed power bat, during this past season. Bruce began 2017 with the New York Mets but was traded to the Cleveland Indians in August.

The 30-year-old hit .254/.324/.508 with 36 home runs and 101 RBI in 146 total games during the season. He has averaged 28 homers per season over his 10-year MLB career. The Texas native made $13 million in 2017 and is coming off a six-year, $51-million deal.

The Blue Jays have long had interest in Bruce — he was nearly acquired by Toronto in a three-way deal in 2016 involving the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds, Bruce’s former club.

With right-fielder Jose Bautista not returning and a sub-par left-field platoon of Ezequiel Carrera and Steve Pearce currently in place, the Blue Jays have outfield needs. General manager Ross Atkins said last month the team is prioritizing the acquisition of “one impact arm and one impact position player” this off-season.