In what might have proven to be the most impactful trade in over two months, the contingent three-team deal on Monday evening between the Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays, and Los Angeles Angels was considered to be dead by Tuesday morning after issues arose regarding a player’s medical review.
An execution of the proposed deal would have sent Reds outfielder Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays, Toronto’s Michael Saunders to the Angels, and a prospect apiece from the Angels and Blue Jays to Cincinnati.
Despite respectively batting .217 and .226 over the last two seasons — which has caused his potential return value to weaken — Bruce’s name has consistently lingered around the trading block this offseason.
Bruce, 28, is under contract through the 2017 season. Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista will be free agents at the conclusion of this season, thus providing motive for the Blue Jays desire to acquire the slugging outfielder.
Bruce would have been the only left-handed hitter in Toronto’s projected lineup for this season.
While it’s unclear whose medical review threw the wrench into the deal, Toronto’s Saunders serves as a plausible scapegoat.
Saunders, 29, has missed much of the previous two seasons due to left knee troubles and underwent a procedure last February to have roughly 60 percent of his meniscus removed.
Saunders most likely would have joined the impending left field competition in Anaheim. The competition — which will play out this spring — is projected to feature Craig Gentry, Todd Cunningham, and Daniel Nava.
At this time, no alterations have been made to the trade in order to revive it. A few different players added and subtracted may do the trick; however, it seems unlikely to occur at this time.