I’m available to discuss all credible trade and signing rumors, and that’s particularly true of things that touch directly on the Chicago Cubs. Obviously.
This offseason, that’s going to mean a whole lot of Kris Bryant trade rumors. Well, last offseason, too, but again this offseason. If it’s interesting and/or credible, and lends itself to thoughtful discussion of what could be coming for the Cubs, I’m in for the talk.
But there are some discussions that will inevitably pop up that I’m much less enthused about getting into, either because I just really don’t want to see it happen or because it’s just so implausible or both. This feels like a “both” situation to me, but I listened anyway out of morbid curiosity:
What about Kris Bryant to the White Sox?
Could it happen? What would it take?
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) November 26, 2020
You get the sense from the White Sox side of thing that yeah, of course they’d take Bryant for a year, given where they are, and given the potential upside, and the fact that it’s a lot less expensive in the outfield than signing George Springer to a monster deal. But obviously it’s a massive buy-low situation, and the word “flyer” gets thrown around.
Dave Kaplan keeps things on the level at the top of the discussion, noting that a return on a Bryant trade is not going to yield a significant return right now. Correct, and widely-discussed – the combination of the pandemic, Bryant’s down year, Bryant’s past injuries, and getting just one year of control at $20+ million means that the best you could realistically hope for in a trade is a post-hype prospect that you can try to break out with a change of scenery. It’s going to be very difficult to find a trade fit that passes for acceptable, but I know the Cubs are trying hard before the December 2 non-tender deadline.
More importantly to me, such a situation makes it all the less likely that you’d see a crosstown trade, because the Cubs would have to “sell” the idea even more to Cubs fans, which means the return would have to be really good. For as much as each side simply wants to say they’ll just make deals that are good for them, regardless of the team on the other side, we’ve seen it with the Jose Quintana trade: it lives a much longer, much more frustrating life when it’s between the Cubs and Sox. If it goes well for both sides, fine. If it goes bad for both sides, fine. But if it goes really right for one side and really wrong for the other? It doesn’t just fade into the background after a year or two. It lives on. (A random reminder that Jed Hoyer, had he been in charge, might not have done that Quintana trade because he was so high on Eloy Jimenez.)
Kaplan agrees, saying that the Cubs would ask more from the White Sox than almost any other team in baseball. It may seem asinine, but it’s the reality of being “competing” baseball teams in the entertainment space in Chicago. At the margins, this stuff does matter if you want more of the attention locally – which, in turn, does wind up mattering in revenue, which, in turn, does wind up mattering in baseball budgeting.
If the Cubs were to “risk” trading Bryant to the White Sox, it would have to be for a return that was head and shoulders better than any other offer out there, and I just don’t see why the White Sox would do that. Also, like I hinted in the intro … I really just don’t want to see the Cubs dump Bryant on the White Sox, only for him to explode again and be the final piece that pushes them over the top in 2021, while the Cubs blub their way through a restart.
That’s pretty much all the brain space and word space I’m going to devote to this topic. The White Sox will not be a serious pursuer of Bryant in the coming days, and I’m good with that.