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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why The Reds Should Keep Jay Bruce

The conventional thinking is not only that the Reds will trade Jay Bruce but that the Reds should trade Jay Bruce.

I am going to go against the grain on this one.  Bruce struggled in 2014 and 2015. By his own admission he has gone on record saying, :"If I had been better the last two years, I wouldn't be here right now,"

The plan is for the Reds to be competitive by 2018.  Bruce has already posted numbers that Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Ted Kluszewski and George Foster put up.  He is one of six Reds' players to have 1,000 career hits and 208 home runs.

The key comparison is to Frank Robinson.  Both Bruce and Robinson were born in Beaumont, Texas.  Robinson broke in with the Reds as a 20-year old.in 1956.  By the time Robinson was 29, he had 10 years in the Major Leagues.  Bruce turned 29 on April 3.  He is just reaching his prime seasons.  The Reds traded Robinson in the middle of his prime years and didn't compete for championships for the next four seasons.

Robinson had 1,673 hits, 324 home runs and 1,009 RBI in 10 seasons in Cincinnati.  He averaged 167 hits, 32 home runs and 100 RBI.

Bruce to date has averaged 148 hits, 30 home runs and 94 RBI in his nine plus years with his best years ahead of him.

Bruce was a key part of the Reds' four-year run from 2010-2013 in which the Reds won 90 or more games three times and made the playoffs.  He is tied to the Reds' with a club option for 2017.  His numbers were depressed due to the 2014 and 2015 seasons while working his way back from knee problems.

He is just now reaching his prime.  While most of the experts are saying trade him when he is at the top of his game, I'm saying why invest in a player this long only to trade him when he reaches his prime?

The return wouldn't be all that great because there is a glut of outfielders on the open market and the demand is for pitching.   If they Reds pitching matures sufficiently to compete in two years, why not hold onto an offensive threat and one of the top outfield defenders in the league?  Bruce is an intelligent, articulate leader, who has already been through the good times. His leadership skills would be invaluable to a young team of developing players.  When his contract runs out, it is not likely to break the bank to sign him as a free agent for the same reasons.  There are plenty of outfielders on the market.

It was a mistake on the Reds' part to deal an "old 30" year old outfielder after the 1965 season. It would be repeating the mistake in my opinion by not resigning Bruce.

The Reds are trying to get younger and develop young talent, especially in the starting rotation.  Cody Reed, Brandon Finnegan, Anthony DeSclafani and John Lamb, who is currently getting straightened out in Louisville are all young pitchers learning on the job.  The Reds gave up a Cy Young quality pitcher to get three of them and a established starter to get the other.   They have several young pitchers in the minor leagues that will be ready to compete at the Major League level in the minor leagues.  From closest to farthest in terms of MLB development, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Nick Travieso and Sal Romano, are nearing trips to the big club.

More young pitching is not needed with the Reds flush with young, talented arms.

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