Originally Posted by RedsManRick
Bruce has, at various times, displayed all of the skills needed to be an offensive force. Not too many guys his age can say that. Sure, we'd all like him to put it all together at once -- nobody wants an Austin Kearns 2.0 situation. But I'm not sure what people mean when the say they are getting impatient. Even in his current form he's a solid contributor. Are you going to trade him? Bench him? Send him to AAA?
Until his salary starts to exceed his production, you let him play and hope it all comes together. In the meantime, just consider him a solid producer with a lot of upside.
Are we talking about Jay Bruce or Edwin Encarnacion?
I know the defense is a huge differentiator, but the offensive issues -- and the waiting game -- are familiar. The Reds were burned three times when they counted on EE to be a productive middle-of-the-order bat. Those are seasons wasted, expecting better production that never came.
You're not wrong that the best path for Bruce is to be patient. The problem is the Reds are the kind of team that needs to be able to count on certain things. Offensively, they can count on Votto, Phillips and Rolen when he's healthy. Beyond that, they have a lot of maybes. Most of those maybes, even if they max out, are lineup fillers -- guys filling the gaps between the reliable contributors. Bruce is the guy they keep expecting to be one of those reliable contributors. They need him to be, because they can't expect it from anyone else.
Is that fair to Bruce? No. He can only develop as fast as he can develop. But it's not fair to the Reds to spend three years in on-the-job training. This is just the wrong kind of team for these kinds of extended learning curves. Failure to live up to expectations can cripple an entire season.