In the wake of yesterday’s big Mets-Indians trade, which sent Francisco Lindor (one year, $20-ish million) and Carlos Carrasco (two years and $27 million) to the Mets in exchange for a package most agree is a little better than what the Cubs got for Yu Darvish (which makes sense, given the relative values and contracts), there is an immediate question on what the trade tells us about the “trade value market” for Kris Bryant.
We’re all adults here, so we can acknowledge that, with the Cubs not pushing in for 2021, and with President Jed Hoyer explicitly saying they’d like to look at moves for the future, trading Kris Bryant is a strong possibility. For the right deal, the Cubs would presumably flat-out want to do it. So, in that world, what does today’s trade tell us about his value?
Eh. Not much. I didn’t think it would, given Lindor is simply a much more valuable player with a better projected value for 2021, but I was curious. In the end, the inclusion of Carrasco muddies things sufficiently that I don’t think you can say more today than you could two days ago about Bryant trade expectations: a very modest prospect return and/or a post-hype young big leaguer feels realistic, especially if the Cubs insist on not including significant salary in the deal.
With that in mind, and with the latest rumor out of Los Angeles that the Dodgers could look to Bryant as an option if Justin Turner goes elsewhere (plus the reports about the Cubs and Mets having discussed Bryant), I thought it worth sharing this reported data point from Jim Bowden.
Bowden, writing about possible targets for the Dodgers, said this: “The Dodgers certainly have the deep farm system to make a solid deal here, but so far the Cubs’ asking price has been too high for interested teams like the Dodgers to pursue in earnest.”
Now, then. Is that based on a sense of public reports? Specific ones? Or something he has heard personally?
It’s worth noting that Bowden was at one time the GM of the Washington Nationals, so you might wonder if he’s still got sources there, where the club has been working overtime to tell the world that they totally don’t want Bryant and he’s totally overpriced and they wouldn’t send the Cubs bupkis for him and on and on.
To be fair, hey, maybe the Cubs’ asking price on Bryant HAS been far too high, given his expected $20 million salary for only one year of control coming off an injured and down season. On the other hand, maybe teams just want to view Bryant as a salary dump opportunity, and the Cubs aren’t actually into that for Bryant? As we’ve discussed, the Cubs don’t HAVE to trade him.
With most of free agency still in the future, and with the Lindor return not THAT bad, why would the Cubs just move to dump Bryant for nothing? Look, I get that 2021 is a reboot at this point, and I also get that the Cubs have already started the process by trading Yu Darvish. But, with most of his trade value gobbled up by the loss of years of control, the pandemic crash, and the terrible 2020 season, it’s not like the Cubs are LOSING that much by holding onto Bryant at this point. The NL Central figures to be terrible, Bryant might be awesome, and, hey, you never know what might happen if you just let the probably-very-good-player play for your team. If a team wants to come forward with a legit offer for Bryant (not a whopper, because you aren’t getting that – just a solid, interesting return), fine, you consider that. But if there isn’t a “need” to keep slashing salary from here, then whatever, just keep the guy already.