Like I said this morning, yesterday’s report about “recent” trade talks between the Cubs and Mets on Kris Bryant was thereafter updated to remove the word “recent.” That seemed a substantive change, given that having had trade talks in, say, November is a far cry from having had them in the last week, when the world changed a good bit for the two teams.
Well, now there’s a report out of New York:
There's been dialogue between the Mets and Cubs recently about Kris Bryant. The Cubs really like catcher Francisco Alvarez, one of the Mets' top prospects. Sandy Alderson indicated yesterday he isn't trading top prospects.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) January 8, 2021
Not only does this report confirm the talks, and not only does it put that word “recent” back in there, but it also names a name on the other side: catching prospect Francisco Alvarez.
Alvarez, 19, is indeed a top prospect in the Mets’ system, and is likely a top 100 to most services, too. By MLB Pipeline, he’s actually ranked ahead of Brailyn Marquez and Brennen Davis. So, yeah, that’d definitely be the Mets giving up a top prospect, which it sure seems they’d be loathe to do, even in a deal for Bryant.
So why even mention the name? Why would a report out of New York have the name of a top prospect that the Cubs like in talks for Bryant? If I had to guess, it would be maybe because the Mets kinda want out there that they’re not willing to give up a top prospect like Alvarez for Bryant … but instead would give up something less? Like maybe a big leaguer, or a lesser prospect? Generally speaking, I can think of “lesser” pieces than Alvarez that would be a “fair” return for Bryant, even if the Cubs are keeping the price tag high. So this is just kinda odd.
Also odd? Jon Heyman put this out, apropos of nothing, around the same time as Puma’s tweet:
Kris Bryant should have more of a market than he appears to: .889 lifetime OPS, brings flexibility (can play all 3 OF positions in addition to 3B), 1 year to go at fairly reasonable rate (about $18-19M).
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 8, 2021
Is someone out there just trying to kick up Bryant talks? Or is this just a little post-Mets-trade drama? Or are the Mets trying to pressure some free agent to sign? Stay tuned, I guess. It was immediately after the Padres traded for a big arm that this kind of “oh, wait, actually there’s more” stuff started popping about Yu Darvish.
Also: I wouldn’t read too much into the Cubs purportedly having interest in a catching prospect. At just 19, Alvarez isn’t a guy you’d target because – for example – you’re shopping Willson Contreras. Instead, it’d just be a matter of getting the best prospect you could get. And if you really like Alvarez’s bat, then so be it.