Chicago Cubs: Austin Riley
Austin Riley is another player that came up in the article who has had some success at the major league level. In just 80 games as a rookie in 2019, he hit 18 home runs while driving in 49. However, getting on base was a big problem, as his OBP was an anemic .279. Any team trading for Riley would be banking on the hope that his power would translate well over a full season while he could make more contact and draw more walks.
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Riley’s name comes up as a trade candidate because the Atlanta Braves seem hesitant to give him the third base job for 2020. The fact that they’ve been linked to Anthony Rendon and Mike Moustakas as potential free agent acquisitions, along with the possibility of re-signing Josh Donaldson, shows that they think they can do better than Riley at the hot corner. That being said, Riley was only 22 this year, so there’s still plenty of time for him to develop.
Since Riley has played mainly third base and left field, the only way that the Cubs would be interested in him is if they were to trade either Bryant or Schwarber this offseason. In fact, since the Braves are looking so aggressively for a third baseman, perhaps Riley would be part of a package for them to get Bryant to fill their desired need for a third baseman. It would take more than Riley for the Cubs to give up Bryant, but that could be a start.
Then again, the MLB.com article reports that the Braves are looking for pitching. If that’s the case, again the Cubs don’t have much to offer. It’s unclear whether Quintana would be of any interest to the Braves; they’d probably want a bigger name if they’re going to give up one of their biggest major league-ready trade chips.