The Astros had some rumored interest in Jay Bruce, but he signs with the Mets.
There was some interest by Jay Bruce to join the Houston Astros earlier this offseason. He got the impression that they didn’t have the money to sign him. When you hear a player talking about money, they are rarely talking about the annual contract value, instead of the length of the deal. Bruce was looking for a 3-4 year deal, but the Astros were probably thinking more along the lines of a two-year deal.
According to Jeff Passan, Bruce signed with the Mets for three years and $39 million. That breaks down to $10 million for 2018 and two years at $13 million. While Bruce is not a megastar, that is not a lot of money for a power hitter like Bruce. The Astros could have easily paid that if they didn’t have the financial strain down the road to retaining some of their young stars.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Astros viewed Bruce as a fallback option if they traded Derek Fisher. Passan reported that “Bruce had met with the high-ups this week.” If this were a face to face meeting, that would signify interest from both sides. Now we know that they couldn’t agree on the framework on a deal, now he is with the Mets again.
This tells me a few things.
For one, it signifies that they are at least discussing Fisher in other trades. We know that we had the roller coaster ride of emotions that was the fake Gerrit Cole trade being imminent rumors. While reports later surfaced that the deal was not close, there are no reports that say that the trade talks are dead. They can pick up at any moment when one of the sides decides to concede to get a deal done.
Secondly, this could increase the chances of the Astros signing Carlos Gonzalez if Fisher is indeed traded. While some fans are not sold on Gonzalez coming to Houston, it would give the Astros time to let Kyle Tucker develop in the minors. Don’t worry. They would only sign him to a one-year deal.
For now, we have some movement in the free agent market. The offseason has chilled off with activity. With Bruce off the board, we may see some other minor moves make. As Jeff Luhnow said via Jeff Kaplan, they are actively trying to improve the team for 2018. Nothing is close, but they are not settling with winning the World Series in 2017.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***