Jay Bruce wants to play for the Astros but they don’t have the financial flexibility to sign him.
One of the topics on the first ever CTH Podcast last night was centered around Jay Bruce and the Astros. While Astros fans may have considered adding Bruce to the outfield rotation, would this handicap the team later? The Astros themselves have probably kicked the tires on Bruce to see what it would take. The soon to be 31-year-old outfielder is looking for one last long-term deal.
According to Henry Schulman, the Astros have at least been in communication with Bruce. Schulman reports that Bruce wants to sign with two teams, but they don’t have the money for him. Those two teams are the Astros and Giants, with the latter being the most likely destination. According to Buster Olney, the Giants are unwilling to go past three years for Bruce.
Why no Bruce?
Let’s get this straight, the left-handed slugger Jay Bruce is willing to sign with the Astros, and they are not jumping at it. Bruce would fit in perfectly in left-field, batting .256 with 36 homers and 101 RBIs. Maybe the Astros could bat him fifth in this lineup behind their talented quartet. Bruce says the Astros don’t have the money for him, but they are meeting with Yu Darvish.
The problem with Bruce is that the Astros would be more than willing to sign him for a 1-2 year deal for x amount per season. However, Bruce is looking for a long-term contract similar to what Josh Reddick got last year. As we discussed on the podcast, the financial future of the Astros will get complicated.
To keep the core group of players together, they will have to commit a high amount of payroll to retain them. The per year value to sign a player like Bruce is not the issue; it’s the length of the contract that is the issue. They were rumored to be interested in trading for Giancarlo Stanton, but I’m not sure how deep the discussions got. Stanton is on a different level from Bruce.
If they don’t have money for Bruce, then why would they be looking at Darvish. As I wrote about Tuesday night, the Astros could target players like Darvish and Jake Arrieta as Dallas Keuchel insurance. If they can get another top starting pitcher for less than Keuchel’s projected new contract, they have a backup plan if he leaves next offseason.
Bruce would be an excellent addition to the Stros lineup, but they don’t NEED him. They have some young talent who could offer the offense that Bruce could. Derek Fisher showed some pop to start his big league career but cooled off when the league adjusted to him. With Preston Tucker being DFAed, it’s a reminder to give the kids a chance to prove they can play. Good luck to Bruce, but I don’t see him wearing an Astros uniform.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***