With Mookie Betts (and all the other associated pieces) now finally actually headed to the Dodgers, a little more info is going to spill out about that process, as well as some related discussions.
For example, discussions the Cubs reportedly had with the Dodgers:
Jeter Downs is the best part of Boston haul. Verdugo is very talented both ways but he has a lot of well-known makeup questions. LA talked about him in trades with a few teams, including Cubs and Rays — tho with that ability, they knew it had to be for something big. And it was.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 10, 2020
Verdugo, 23, posted a 2.2 WAR last year in just 106 games for the Dodgers, soon after being considered a top 50 prospect in the game. There’s no question he is a talented player and a likely long-term starter for the Red Sox, with the ability to play all over the outfield.
… but, given that he was the center piece in the Betts deal – clearly a guy the Dodgers were comfortable moving – it’s not a stretch to conclude that, if Heyman’s report is accurate, the Dodgers were trying to have Verdugo as the center piece in their trade talks with the Cubs about Kris Bryant. To be sure, Heyman did not precisely say that, but we know that Bryant was a possible trade target for the Dodgers (unlike any other premium Cubs player that we’re aware of). So the dots connect.
And if that indeed played out that way, the Cubs were right to balk at Verdugo as the center piece in a Bryant trade. He’s a nice player, likely to be a solid starter. But if the Cubs are going to deal two years of Kris Bryant, they need to acquire young pieces with HUGE upside potential. You can’t presume you’re going to get the next Bryant (or Bryant-caliber pitcher) in a trade for Bryant, of course, but you kinda want that to be what you’re swinging for.
Unless the Dodgers were offering up Verdugo plus pitcher Dustin May plus-plus, then I’m just saying, it’s good that nothing happened with the Dodgers.
All that said, if these sides *were* talking about Bryant as an alternative to Betts, it does make you wonder if the Cubs are still talking to teams about Bryant, even with Spring Training just around the corner.