Given that both Jesse Rogers and Jon Heyman have indicated that the New York Mets are considered the most likely trade destination for Kris Bryant (if he’s traded), and given all the intense offseason rumors of interest, I’m watching the stuff out of New York a little more closely.
Specifically, I was waiting to see when we’d get a report out of New York that Mets prospects X, Y, and/or Z were of interest in the talks. We know that top prospect Francisco Alvarez was coveted by the Cubs in the offseason, but his prospect stock has since exploded to the point where there’s just no chance he’d be on the table in a deal for Bryant. But what about the rest of the crew? Where might the Cubs’ interests lie? Where might the Mets’ willingness to move lie?
Well, this SI report from Pat Ragazzo is softer than what I was hoping, in terms of its language, but it does name specific names. In a collection of Mets rumors about the organization’s desire to make a big move at the deadline, which could obviously include Bryant, Ragazzo writes:
On the offensive end, if they are able to acquire Bryant from the Cubs, it won’t be in exchange for top prospects Francisco Alvarez or Brett Baty, given the fact that Bryant is a rental player. However, shortstop prospect Ronny Mauricio, or Double-A third baseman Mark Vientos, who is having a career year for Binghamton, could potentially be in the cards, as trade chips. The Mets are one of the many teams already pursuing Bryant, as MLB Insider Jon Heyman reported last week.
Coming into this season, Mauricio was actually considered the Mets’ top prospect, and a clear top 50 guy at that. But he hasn’t hit all that well coming out of the missed season (though it’s not like he’s been terrible as a 20-year-old good-defense shortstop at High-A: .239/.280/.434, 93 wRC+), and he’ll probably be more down in that 60 to 100 range when the various post-draft re-ranks take place. But, I mean, let’s be clear, he’s still an upper-tier prospect.
Vientos, by contrast, is a guy on the upswing. Clearly outside the top 100 coming into the year, and in that back half of the Mets’ top 10, the 2017 second rounder was jumping High-A and starting the season at Double-A where he’s raked. The third baseman is hitting .275/.346/.598 (145 wRC+), and his production – and age – virtually match that of Brennen Davis. His stock is definitely not as high as Davis’s when you consider the overall package and experience, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some giving Vientos top 100 type helium this summer.
That is all to say, it’s encouraging that these guys are considered “in the cards” even from a New York perspective. If the Cubs are going to trade Bryant – and, yes, they might – it needs to be for a return that leaves you no doubt that they did the right thing in moving on. Because whatever small chance there is that the Cubs could and would re-sign Bryant in the offseason right now, I think it goes to zero if he’s traded to another team this month. Call that a gut thing.
So anyway, the point here is to put the prospects on your radar, but mostly to note: this is an encouraging report *IF* you think Bryant is likely to be traded. In recent history, rental position players tend not to net impact prospects like this, though Bryant is obviously among the best rental position players who’ve been on the market in a long time.