Jay Bruce Trade Talks Heating Up, Blue Jays Favored To Land Him?

UPDATED 6:41pm EST on 02/22/16

More than just "a possibility," it appears the Blue Jays and Reds may already be moving forward on a deal with Bruce as the centerpiece.

Per Jon Heyman:

The trade is also shaping up to be a three-way deal, which would ultimately send Toronto outfielder Michael Saunders to the Los Angeles Angels:

Original Text

The Cincinnati Reds are dialing up the aggression in trade talks surrounding outfielder Jay Bruce, and they may have a potential suitor lined up in the Toronto Blue Jays.

Via Jon Heyman of MLB Network:

Bruce was the subject of major speculation before last season's trade deadline, and once again cropped up as a potential trade chip this offseason while the Reds offloaded fellow franchise stalwarts Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman.

His production has tapered off considerably since a All-Star caliber three-year stretch from 2011-13, partially due to a significant knee injury in 2014 and partially due to what looked like a lack of overall confidence/discipline at the plate. More Blue Jays rumors inside the Chat Sports iPhone and Android apps!

He's hit a combined .222/.288/.406 over the past two seasons, but the one thing which continues to keep him relevant on the trade market is his power. Bruce hit 26 home runs last season, and is just two seasons removed from a three-year stretch with 30 HRs or more per year.

“Had I played better the last year and a half to two years, I would have definitely been moved,” Bruce said recently, via Cincinnati.com. “There’s definitely more of a possibility that I’d have already been traded. That’s just the way it is. That’s the game. I know good and well that I’m not the player I was last year and I’m not the player I was in 2014. The only way I can prove that is to go out and actually do that and get back to the real me.”

As for the Blue Jays -- Bruce's $12.5 million salary for 2016 may seem exorbitant, but its his 2017 team option year ($13 million with a $1 million buyout) which might be the selling point. If Bruce can return to his All-Star form of a couple years back, he becomes a major source of leverage with Jose Bautista in the middle of a walk year.

The Blue Jays are not on Bruce's most recent no-trade list, per FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, so there's not much holding Toronto back from getting a deal done if they can come to an agreeable set of terms.

It's not necessarily a sign of trouble between the Blue Jays and Bautista if the team makes a move for Bruce. However, it'd give Toronto what could be an impact bat for 2016 and a potentially valuable talking point for 2017.

More details as they emerge.

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Related Topics: MLB Trade Rumors, Reds News, Blue Jays Rumors, Blue Jays News, Reds Rumors, Jay Bruce