2021 could be Kris Bryant’s last season in Chicago. With Bryant’s contract expiring after this season and both sides nowhere near a new deal, it’s in the Cubs’ best interest to move Bryant for a return as opposed to letting him walk away for nothing. With that in mind, what could a deal for Kris Bryant look like?
The best-case scenario for the Cubs is if they can move Bryant for another star player. One player that comes to mind is Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. The Cubs would love to see a one-for-one swap of Bryant and Arenado. This had reportedly been discussed last season, although that did not come to fruition. With that, the Cubs would need to give up some more.
The building blocks of this deal are obviously Bryant and Arenado. If the Rockies were to move on from their star player, they would need some young players coming back their way to make this deal work for them.
The Cubs have two good MLB caliber catchers is in Willson Conteras and Victor Caratinii. Thus, giving Chicago the option to package one of their top prospects, Miguel Amaya along with Bryant to Colorado. Now, that is an option, but with Conteras able to enter free agency in the next few years trading Amaya is not the best move.
For the Cubs to land Arenado they would have to part ways with both Bryant and Conteras. Cubs fans may not like the idea of losing two former All-Stars, but they would get a clear upgrade at third base and it would open a roster spot up for Amaya.
To A Contender
If the Cubs want to find good value for Kris Bryant, they need to find a playoff hopeful who is just a couple of pieces away from being a threat. What better team than the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have one of the youngest most talented cores in baseball but failed to make it past the Dodgers in 2020. Adding Bryant to the mix could do wonders for the Braves. As a former World Series champion, he could help install a winning culture into Atlanta.
Atlanta could shell out a couple of young players and land Bryant. One guy that comes to mind is the young third baseman, Austin Riley. Riley has failed to live up to expectations thus far posting a .232 batting average through 131 career games. Although it may be too early for Atlanta to give up on him, they can not afford to let their World Series window close.
Bryant for Riley would not be ideal for the Cubs. Therefore, the Braves will need to sweeten the pot. Adding a prospect should be enough to complete this deal.
With the Cubs needing pitching help adding pitching prospect Ian Anderson into the mix should be enough. Anderson appeared in six games during 2020 and posted an ERA of 1.95 with 41 strikeouts.
The price of Austin Riley and Ian Anderson for Kris Bryant may not seem appealing to Braves fans, but if Bryant can help bring Atlanta to the promised land it won’t matter as much.
Bryant Reunites with His Old Friend
Why not define the inevitable? All signs seem to be pointing to Kris Bryant joining former high school teammate Bryce Harper in Philadelphia, come free agency. Let’s just skip ahead and send Bryant to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Phillies have a big hole at the hot corner and Bryant should be more than willing to sign long term in Philadelphia. The Phillies also have a couple of prospects that may entice the Cubs, such as pitching prospect Adonis Medina. Medina went into 2020 ranked fifth in the Phillies’ system.
Obviously, the Phillies need to send more than Medina to Chicago in order to get a deal done. Five-year veteran pitcher Zach Eflin seems to the best option to include. With MLBs 2020 pitcher free agency class being strong, the Phillies should have no problems replacing Elfin’s career 4.63 ERA.
Now, trading with the Phillies would not fetch the biggest return for Bryant, it would free up money to add more depth to the Cubs.
These are just three of the many deals the Cubs can put together for Kris Bryant. Some of these deals may not be ideal for both parties, but it is becoming clearer that Bryant may need a change of scenery.
Although it will hurt to see Kris Bryant leave Chicago, it is best for both sides and will hurt a lot less for fans if his departure is by trade.
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