"I think I see the plan," veteran pitcher Homer Bailey told ESPN.com. "They talked about us losing 100 games at the beginning of the year, and s---, we're damn sure trying, aren't we?"
Both Bailey and veteran first baseman Joey Votto made some critical comments about the trade to Cincinnati TV stations on Tuesday, the day after the non-waiver trade deadline. The Reds traded Bruce, who leads the National League with 80 RBIs, to the New York Mets for 22-year-old second baseman Dilson Herrera and 19-year-old pitcher Max Wotell.
Bailey said it was a blow inside the clubhouse because the Reds were playing better, having gone 9-3 in the days leading up to the deadline. He said the team was beginning to feel like it was building momentum toward the 2017 season, similar to the way it generated momentum before a division title in 2010. The Reds were 20 games under .500 going into Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I think it's kind of like you see the balloon getting bigger, and then, all of a sudden, you poke a hole in it," Bailey said. "Apparently, they know a lot more than we do."
Bruce was tied with Adam Duvall for the team lead in home runs (25) and second to Votto in OPS (.875).
"I don't have anything to say about the trade, but Jay was one of my very good friends, and I just wish him luck," Duvall said. "I am sad to see him go just because he meant a lot to me, even though I was only here one year."
Bailey, who just returned from the disabled list, said he thinks the disappointment he expressed was felt universally within the team.
"There is a business side, but you know what? It's always kind of players vs. team. That's always the way it goes," he said. "There's nothing personal about that, but right now, we're definitely making some moves that are quite questionable, especially for the guys who put on the jersey every day. If you're in a rebuilding, then who better to build around than Jay Bruce?"