Chicago Cubs: Cubs send Kris Bryant to the New York Mets for Noah Syndergaard.
Why it makes sense: If the Chicago Cubs want to shake up the roster and give the team a different look for 2020, Kris Bryant seems to be the big-name player most likely to be traded. Whether deserved or not, he’s been the poster child for the team’s underachieving performance over the past couple of seasons, and the whole service time controversy has likely caused bad feelings between the Cubs and Bryant camps.
The Mets could be a good fit, as they will look to potentially replace free agent Todd Frazier at the hot corner. Many thought Noah Syndergaard would be traded during this season, but instead, the Mets decided not to sell anyone off, and it almost paid off as they jumped back into contention late in the year. Nonetheless, Syndergaard’s name will continue to pop up in trade rumors this offseason, and the Cubs could certainly use some starting pitching help. Both teams are looking to retool instead of reload, so on the surface, this could make sense.
Why it wouldn’t make sense: Syndergaard didn’t have a particularly good year in 2019. After four straight years with an ERA of 3.24 or lower from 2015-2018, in 2019 that number was 4.28. He did prove he was healthy, making 32 starts, but he also led the league in earned runs allowed. His 24 home runs allowed was by far a career high. Was 2019 an aberration? The Cubs would be taking a chance that it was.
Then there’s the hole left at third base. Anthony Rendon seems unlikely, and there’s not much else free agent-wise. Josh Donaldson could be a short-term solution, albeit an expensive one, or they could try Ian Happ there. Either way, replacing Bryant’s production at third wouldn’t be easy. We can argue about how clutch Kris Bryant is, but numbers-wise, he’s one of the best-hitting third basemen in the game.
Again, all three of these trades probably have a small chance of happening, but that’s not going to stop the rumor mill from going strong. Plus, there’s a good chance that the front office is going to do something big this offseason. We’ll have to wait and see what it is.