CINCINNATI -- For the better part of eight seasons, Jay Bruce was a model of stability and professionalism for the Cincinnati Reds organization.
On Monday afternoon, Bruce was traded to the New York Mets in a deal designed to further the Reds' rebuilding efforts.
When Cincinnati begins a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night, a No. 32 jersey will be conspicuously absent from the large locker on the far left-hand corner of the clubhouse.
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"Over the past nine seasons, we couldn't have asked for a better person to represent our team, our city and Major League Baseball, both on and off the field," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement.
"During these difficult last few months, he has answered questions about his future almost daily, while continuing to handle himself with the class and professionalism he has shown since the day we drafted him."
In exchange for Bruce, Cincinnati acquired infielder Dilson Herrera and left-hander Max Wotell. Herrera, 22, originally was signed by Pittsburgh in 2010 and was acquired by the Mets in August 2013. Wotell, 19, was the Mets' third-round pick in 2015.
"This was a very difficult trade for us to make because of how our fans, ownership and everyone in our organization feel about Jay, but we acquired two quality players who better fit the direction our organization is heading," Jocketty said.
"Herrera is considered one of the brightest young stars in the game today. Wotell fits in with the other good, strong arms we've been trying to stockpile in our minor league system."
The Cardinals, who begin play Tuesday in second place in the National League Central behind the Chicago Cubs, made a deal to bolster their bullpen at Monday's non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring lefty Zack Duke from the Chicago White Sox.
The Reds and Cardinals will play six times over the next nine days, beginning with this week's three-game set. Coming into Tuesday's series opener, St. Louis is 18-4 over the past 11 series at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati will try to reverse that trend on Tuesday behind right-hander Dan Straily who went from a long reliever to being among the Reds' most dependable starters.
Opponents are hitting just .207 against Straily, who will make his first career start against St. Louis. He leads the Reds' staff in innings pitched (122), strikeouts (97) and quality starts (12).
The Cardinals counter with Adam Wainwright, who has overcome a rough start to the season to post a 1.77 ERA in July, which ranks ninth among all major league pitchers.
St. Louis is 14-3 in his last 17 starts and has won six of his last seven road starts.
Cincinnati has had success against Wainwright, however. His 4.44 ERA against the Reds is the second-highest against any opponent. Wainwright allowed two earned runs in six innings in a 3-2 win against them on June 9. On April 16, Cincinnati roughed him up with a season-high seven runs allowed.
"He's been good, very good," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "The fastball execution has been very sharp here lately. Good movement on the cutter sinker and that makes the curveball better."