The Toronto Blue Jays need at least one outfielder, and they could use a left-handed bat, so it stands to reason that GM Alex Anthopoulos will continue being connected to lefty hitters with outfield experience.
Most recently, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Blue Jays have talked about Jay Bruce.
However, Bruce would have to waive his no-trade protection for a trade with the Blue Jays to occur. The Blue Jays are among eight teams to which the 27-year-old can block trades, industry sources told Sportsnet. The New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins make up the rest of the list.
While no-trade protection can make it more difficult for teams to complete a deal, players often waive their no-trade privileges. In other instances, players use their no-trade rights in exchange for some kind of incentive.
Bruce had a down year with the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, batting .217/.281/.373 with 18 home runs in 545 plate appearances. However, the 2005 first-round pick averaged 32 home runs per season from 2011-13, so he has a recent history of production. He debuted with the Reds in 2008, when new Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby was the Reds’ hitting coach.
Bruce will earn $12 million in 2015 and $12.5 million in 2016. His contract includes a $13-million team option for 2017 with a $1-million buyout.
Even after signing Russell Martin, the Blue Jays must address their infield, outfield and bullpen.