Bruce seeking to finish his career in Cincinnati
Reds outfielder eyes extension to current deal that runs through 2016
CINCINNATI -- Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has long-term commitments on his mind of late -- both of the personal and professional variety.
In a couple of weeks, Bruce will make a lifetime commitment to his fiancee when the two celebrate their wedding day. On the baseball side of life, the 25-year-old would like to sign an extension that would enable him to possibly finish his career in Cincinnati.
Bruce is interested in adding another six years to the deal. The timing might seem odd since he is already under a contract that is guaranteed through 2016.
"[Bruce] made it clear that he wants to be a Red his entire career," Bruce's agent, Matt Sosnick, said. "[Joey] Votto is in his wedding in a couple of weeks and he wants to play with him. He has a lot of friends there. He and his fiancee are very comfortable in Cincinnati. Jay asked me to approach the team and see if something is there. We'll see if the team has any interest."
Sosnick would not disclose what he and Bruce were seeking in terms of dollars, but said the subject was already broached informally with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty.
When reached by MLB.com, Jocketty gave no indication he was ready to open negotiations with Bruce.
"It's something that has not been discussed at this point," Jocketty said.
Bruce batted .252 in 2012 and set new career highs with 34 home runs, 99 RBIs, a .514 slugging percentage and 35 doubles. Last week, he was named a Silver Slugger Award winner following a vote by the league's managers and coaches.
On Dec. 14, 2010, Bruce avoided arbitration when he signed a six-year, $51 million contract that came with a $13 million club option for 2017 ($1 million buyout). Sosnick, who felt that deal came together rather quickly, also represents other players in the organization. They include outfielder Chris Heisey and prospects Robert Stephenson and Sean Buckley.
Stephenson, a right-handed pitcher at Class A Dayton, was the Reds' first-round Draft pick in 2011. Buckley, a first baseman at Dayton this past season, is the son of Reds director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley.
The Reds have established a recent track record of giving long-term contracts to their cornerstone players.
In April, Votto signed a 10-year, $225 million extension through 2023 that has a club option for 2024. Second baseman Brandon Phillips was signed shortly after Votto to a six-year, $72.5 million contract that takes him through 2017.
"If the Reds are interested in talking, we would be interested in exploring it," Sosnick said. "If not, we'll take no message from it and have no hard feelings. We're in no hurry to sign a contract extension. It was a thought that Jay had because he loves the Reds and Cincinnati."