As the White Sox outfield rumor mill just will not die down, another name has been added to the list. That being Cincinnati Reds right-fielder Jay Bruce. Reports surfaced today that the Sox are looking at both Bruce, and Colorado Rockies right-fielder Carlos Gonzalez. Who is the more likely addition?
Personally, I would love to see Gonzalez on the south side of Chicago. However, the asking price is reported to be sky high.Last report from Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago eluded that the Rockies would demand at least a combination of prospects including Spencer Adams, and Tyler Danish. Tim Anderson has also been mentioned as a return piece for the Rockies, as has Jose Quintana. I think he is among the most under-publicized stars in the game, mostly due to the fact that the plays in Colorado. So, would it actually make sense to acquire Bruce instead? I think it might, mostly due to the fact that removing Gonzalez from Coors Field, might skew his numbers. As well, the fact that he is often injured might tip the scales in favor of Jay Bruce.
Jay Bruce would likely be a significant upgrade over Avisail Garcia in right field defensively. Offensively, Bruce would give the Sox a power bat from the left side, that comes with its own set of flaws. He hits for a low average, not to mention strikes out a lot. As with most hitters prone to the strikeout, Bruce does not walk a lot.
However, Bruce isn’t exactly an Adam Dunn-type minus the walks. He will find the gaps, as he has the capability to hit 30 plus doubles in the season. To reference his power, Bruce failed to hit 20 home runs only once (2014 when he only played 137 games), and hit more than 30 three times. Bruce might not be an elite run producer, but he will be in the 70-100 range in a healthy season.
Here is a big problem with Bruce, he is a dead pull hitter. Bruce being unable to go to the opposite field with any sort of power has proven problematic for him, contributing to his lower than average batting average. When there are more fielders on one side of the field, it is much harder to find space, forcing Bruce to become somewhat reliant on the long ball.
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Overall, I think Bruce would still be a solid acquisition for the White Sox. He could be a solid defensive right fielder, not to mention will only be 29 in April. It is not as if he will be on the downside of his career in 2016, the Sox actually will be getting him during his prime. Of course he isn’t as good as Carlos Gonzalez, but very few outfielders are. Bruce would be a solid addition to the lineup, and could hit in the middle of the order. Getting another power bat would be ideal, and I don’t think he would cost the Sox the farm. Gonzalez might, which wouldn’t be good for the team long term. Even with Spring Training games underway, the rumor mill will not quiet down. It should be an interesting spring, Sox fans.