Jay Bruce had a Ken Griffey Jr. banner above his cubicle. It was the same cubicle that Griffey had with huge black trunk in front of it that used to house Griffey's shoes, batting gloves, hats and provided a seat for man, who is being inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York this weekend.
Bruce was a rookie in 2008 when Griffey used to hold court on the trunk. Until Griffey was traded on July 31 of that season.
Bruce is the subject of trade rumors just as Griffey did eight years ago.
"This has been literally 365 days straight of trade rumors, Bruce said. "When am I going to be traded? Where am I going to be traded? There has been plenty of things written and said, typed or whatever they use these days.."
"If I had better years, the last two, I would have been traded by now," Bruce said this spring.
"This could be my last weekend with the Reds," said Bruce knowing the trade deadline is a week from Monday, July 31. "I try my best to manage it. I feel like I do a solid job of managing it but at the end of the day man, it starts to creep in there. It's a tough situation. I understand the Reds' situation, the whole deal. They have to do what they can to better the organization but at the end of the day, I'm a human being."
The Reds are rebuilding and looking to get younger but Bruce turned 29 on April 3 and is just entering his prime seasons as a player.
"The next week will set me up to be where I'll be the rest of the year," Bruce said. "I'm still here. Even when the deadlines over, it's still not over. Hopefully, it is. Hopefully, when the deadlines over, what will happen, will have happened and I can move on and play ball whether it's here or elsewhere."
"I know this could be my last series that I'm playing in a Reds' uniform," Bruce said. "It's something I can't believe I'm saying. We talked about Griffey. The first time I ever walked in this clubhouse. Griffey was sitting right here on a big black box. I was 18 years old. A couple years later I was playing centerfield and he was in right. Now I'm standing right here where he stood. I've been through a lot here. I've had the best moments of my life, obviously my son was born. Every thing that has happened to me in baseball has happened in this organization. They've been great to me. It's gone on a long time now."