The importance of Jay Bruce for the success of the Cincinnati Reds cannot be understated. That is why the rumored news that the Reds’ right fielder might be in need of surgery is disheartening to say the least.
While he has struggled to start the 2014 season (.218 BA), Bruce has battled the struggles by reaching base at a career-high rate (.355 OBP). That is why losing Bruce for an extended period of time would throw a wrench into the layout of the Reds. Replacing 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in is no easy task, and chances are that GM Walt Jocketty will not be able to replace those exact numbers either.
Not only are Bruce’s offensive numbers hard to replace, but so too is the defense he provides in right field. With a cannon for a left arm, Bruce is consistently near the top of the list each year in outfield assists.
The options for the Reds are limited, as there are no real options in the minors either. With Bruce possibly missing 3-4 weeks from his partially torn meniscus, the replacement will most likely come from Chris Heisey and Skip Schumaker in the meantime.
Losing Bruce always opens up the debate on how to restructure the offensive lineup without the team’s biggest power-hitting threat. When Joey Votto went down in 2012, the Reds saw Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier rise to the occasion to fill the offensive void. The Reds will be hoping that players are able to step up in the wake of Bruce’s absence as well.
This news is tough for a team that has fought 10 major injuries already throughout the first month of the season. Following an impressive series win against the Milwaukee Brewers, the timing couldn’t be worse for the Reds. They’ve been playing all year long without putting their best team on the field yet, and they’ve managed to tread water thus far. Can the trend continue?