Was Jay Bruce signing with the Mets the wrench in the gears of the rumored Astros Gerrit Cole trade Wednesday?
There is nothing better than a conspiracy theory. Let’s take a step back in time to Wednesday when all the rumors started flying around about Gerrit Cole. There were multiple reports, including Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, who said the trade to the Astros was imminent. They suggested that the trade could have consisted of Colin Moran and possibly Derek Fisher. Then we got the news that it was a fake trade rumor.
Was the trade almost agreed upon on Wednesday or was it just wrong information? Let’s try to talk this out. What if there was a trade in agreement and something changed that led to talks breaking off? At that time, Jeff Luhnow told Jake Kaplan that they were engaged in trades with several teams and with several free agents.
Enter Jay Bruce.
One of those players who was rumored to be a target was Jay Bruce. It was rumored that Bruce wanted to play for the Astros as he grew up in Beaumont. At one point, he was told the Astros did not have the money to sign him.
Later Wednesday evening, right before we broadcasted the CTH Podcast, it was announced that Bruce was heading to the Mets. It was a three year deal for $39 million dollars. As we discussed it on the podcast, I said that doesn’t seem like it’s too expensive for Bruce. Maybe the Astros should have signed him.
Then came a Tweet from Ken Rosenthal. He said the Astros were interested in a deal with Bruce if they lost Fisher in a trade. Jeff Passan also reported that the Astros and Bruce met to try to agree to a deal. Apparently, the Mets decided to sign Bruce instead.
Here comes the conspiracy theory.
What if the Astros met with Bruce and told him they want him, but were working on a trade and to be patient. Maybe they had a deal in place that was contingent on if they traded Fisher. Instead, Bruce decided to go back to New York.
Maybe the original Cole trade was being discussed with the idea that they had Bruce in their back pocket. Perhaps this is when the fake rumors surfaced that the Cole trade was imminent. What if Luhnow just got a call from Bruce’s agent that he had just signed with the Mets. That changed the plans and could be why the trade fell apart.
The Astros and Pirates then had to rethink the structure of the trade. When the actual trade came down yesterday afternoon, Fisher was not involved. Maybe Luhnow knew that he had to keep Fisher to play left field.
I believe that Joe Musgrove was the headliner from the beginning, possibly with Fisher and Moran being the other pieces. Instead of Fisher, the Astros gave up Michael Feliz (MLB ready pitcher) and Jason Martin (intriguing young hitter).
It was odd that the fake Cole rumors were canceled around lunch and Bruce signed later in the evening. That could have been because Bruce had to pass his physical. If Bruce didn’t sign with the Mets, there could be an alternate dimension where Bruce and Cole on the team. That’s the end of my conspiracy theory. I like Cole and Fisher anyway.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***