New York Yankees outfielder Jay Bruce has had a marvelous 13-year MLB career, most of which was spent with the Cincinnati Reds.
Bruce was, once upon a time, one of the game’s most feared power hitters, routinely topping 30 home runs.
With 318 to his name as a pro, more than Giancarlo Stanton, that speaks to how effective he was.
Despite his pedigree, he is fighting for his baseball life right now at Yankees Spring Training.
Bruce faces an uphill battle to make the roster, as keeping a younger alternative in Mike Tauchman as the club’s fifth outfielder certainly has a ton of appeal.
While Tauchman just turned 30, he is a much better defensive player and, although 2020 did not show it, a competent left-handed power bat off of the bench. With Bruce struggling to make good contact this spring, his liabilities in the field could come back to bite him.
If the Yankees decide within the next 48 hours to part ways with the veteran as cuts continue, could this be the last stop in Bruce’s MLB career?
If the Yankees don’t keep Jay Bruce, will anyone else take him?
Bruce’s power numbers will get some teams interested, but he is a player that has -3.9 dWAR in his career, which won’t get teams excited. Over the last seven years, Bruce has posted a pitiful .232/.298/.455 triple slash with almost a strikeout a game.
For someone with his power, getting on base less than 30% of the time is a serious anchor on his stock within the league.
However, an opportunity might’ve opened up in Chicago, as White Sox stud left fielder Eloy Jimenez was ruled out for essentially the entire season due to a ruptured pectoral tendon. If Tony La Russa wants a veteran that can come in and park a few meatballs in the right-field bleachers, Bruce could get the job done.
If the White Sox decide that he is too much of a liability given his age and limited value outside of his pop, it might be hard to latch onto a major league roster.
Bruce has always been a somewhat niche player given how his power has always been the driving source of his value. With his power potentially eroding with age and his other skills doing little to help convince prospective teams that he is worth taking a chance on, this might be the end of the line.
It’s a shame that getting beat out by a 30-year-old backup might bring about the end of such a great pro career, but that’s the situation potentially staring Bruce in the face.