Last night, word broke that the Cubs and Giants were discussing a trade for Kris Bryant (plus another unnamed piece?) that would return recently untouchable catching prospect Joey Bart. Bart has had some of his prospect shine wear off, no doubt, but he’d still be an unusually good return if the other piece in the trade was pretty much anyone not named Craig Kimbrel.
But right on cue, a local report out of San Francisco is trying squash his availability:
A source told NBC Sports Bay Area that the Giants are not open to discussing Bart in talks with the Chicago Cubs, who look poised to be the biggest seller before Friday afternoon’s trade deadline. On Tuesday night, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported that the Giants have spoken to the Cubs about Kris Bryant, noting that the Cubs were evaluating Bart as one candidate to be requested in any deal.
Posturing? A play for leverage? Given the local source, it seemed plausible until I saw a similar sentiment out of Chicago from The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma:
San Francisco’s team president, Farhan Zaidi, knows his team is a bit ahead of schedule and while he’ll lean on general manager Scott Harris and his familiarity with Bryant and the Cubs, the group isn’t likely to engage in a bidding war for his services. At this point in their contention cycle, it’d be a surprise if they ponied up a legitimate top-100 prospect for Bryant alone.
But whether Bart’s involved or not (or whether they’re “likely to engage in a bidding war,” which is pretty much a matter of semantics), it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Giants do, in fact, have interest in Kris Bryant.
#SFGiants have interest in Kris Bryant. Versatile player would be great fit, especially considering their injuries on the infield. Longoria and Belt have missed time. Giants are in first and are no fluke.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 28, 2021
All told, we have two national guys (Jon Morosi and Jon Heyman) connecting the dots while two local reporters from each city (Sahadev Sharma, Ali Thanawalla) do everything but actually shoot the rumor down.
Because did you notice what each of the locals are actually saying? Thanawalla is simply stating that Joey Bart is not available in such a trade, not that the Giants don’t have interest in Bryant. And whether he meant to or not, Sharma actually echoed the original report from Morosi, which had always indicated that the Giants wouldn’t trade Bart … for only Bryant. In other words, nothing Sharma added takes away from Morosi’s initial rumor. And, in fact, it makes sense. Getting Bart for Bryant alone would be bonkers.
In any case, with the addition from Heyman – which came last – it seems increasingly likely that the Giants are legitimately interested in trading for Kris Bryant and everything else we’ve seen so far is all the usual game of back-and-forth. The Cubs probably feel some added pressure to get good deals for these available World Series champions – even if just for the sake of goodwill, let alone out of actual necessity – and a player like Bart would go a long way. Whether they can actually pull that off without some serious additional value is less clear.
Unfortunately, the Giants are a big market team and not anywhere close to the luxury tax payroll. So paying down any of Bryant’s salary probably wouldn’t get them a better return. At the same time, as we’ve discussed, they have two really good teams nipping at their heels and working to get better, themselves, at the deadline.
And it’s not just that. The Giants may have also just lost a potential alternative to Bryant in Starling Marte, who was just traded to the Oakland A’s earlier today. No, Bryant and Marte aren’t perfect matches, as Bryant can play all three outfield spots like Marte, but can also play first and third (where the Giants have some needs), but there is certainly some overlap. And you’re happy to hear it. Because the Marlins got back a really good post-hype prospect in Jesus Luzardo. Some of the shine on Luzardo has worn off, but he’s still a very good, older prospect who’s recently been between Triple-A and the big leagues … sound like anyone else I mentioned in this post?
The big difference here is that the Marlins are sending cash to the A’s along with Marte, but that won’t really apply to the Giants. Unless they want it to, I guess. Stay tuned. This feels like a rumor with some legs.