Chicago Cubs: Exploring potential replacements for Kris Bryant
Chicago Cubs: Replacing Bryant via trade
When looking at other available third basemen on the trade market, the Cubs are probably most likely to target someone young and affordable to take advantage of the extra payroll space created in Bryant’s absence. This should at least allow them to be a little more aggressive in free agency than they are.
One of the names thrown around constantly is Braves third baseman/outfielder Austin Riley. Young Thick got off to a white-hot start to his career but fell off as the year went on, hitting only a meager 86 OPS+.
Still, given his former prospect status, it’s hard to see a future in which Riley doesn’t find at least some big league success. A trade with the Braves involving Bryant may land Riley on the Cubs as well as another teammate like Max Fried and/or another young top prospect.
Miguel Andujar is another potential option for the Cubs to look at at third base that we’ve explored in the past. Andujar, at this point, seems expendable to the Yankees given the recent breakout of Gio Urshela coupled with the struggles and injuries he faced last year, but still shows tremendous upside at a cheap price.
Finally, for a more unconventional option, the Cubs could take recent rumors into account and make a run at Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa was alleged to be on the trade market recently and, while not the cheapest option, could shift to play a solid third base if needed.
Correa has been an impact bat for the Astros when he’s healthy, putting up a stellar .279/.358/.568 slash line in 75 games in 2019. Though, if the Cubs traded for him, it would likely cost them Willson Contreras whom the Astros expressed interest in recently.