There is no question that, for myriad reasons, transactions during the 2020 season are going to look fundamentally different than any other year. We won’t see blockbuster trades. We won’t see top prospects dealt. We won’t see massive extensions signed. Michael got into this a bit in today’s MLBits.
But Kris Bryant, who was the frequent subject of trade rumors all offseason, teed up a question more generally earlier this week when he said this about in-season trades in 2020: “I would like it not to be a concern. I would like to think that I wouldn’t be shipped out in the middle of a pandemic.”
The human element. It sucks that it’s so easy to forget about that part when we start talking about baseball and about transactions, but it’s always there. And in the middle of a pandemic, you’d think it should be even closer to the fore of our minds.
For the Cubs front office, which does care about players and families (both out of humanity, and also because it can help various other efforts down the road), I’m sure they are thinking about this stuff. But as Cubs GM Jed Hoyer put it, if you’re going to have a baseball season, there are going to be transactions of some kind regardless.
“You’re going to have to option players out or send players to different places,” Hoyer said, per MLB.com. “There’s no question that that’s an uncomfortable thing to think about from our perspective, and obviously Kris is voicing that it’s uncomfortable from a player perspective. That’s something that we have to talk through, but there are going to be transactions this year. There’s sort of no way to avoid that, whether they be big or small.”
The other hurdles are still there for movement, but Hoyer is right at some level – there are going to be injuries that require moves. There are going to competitive/performance issues that require moves. All else equal, of course you don’t want to disrupt someone’s life unnecessarily right now. But in a world where MLB and its teams and its players have decided to proceed with a season – and they have – then that’s going to mean certain things on the transaction front.
All that said, the goal is gonna be to just win a whole lot early so that you don’t even have to consider this stuff.
“That’s really not where our mind is,” Hoyer said. “We want this to be effective, for this club to get off on the right foot. That’s really where our mindset is, and I think given the things we’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis, that’s not something that we’re discussing.”