Chicago Cubs: Another Bryant proposal for your viewing pleasure
As mentioned earlier, Bryant has to be the guy most likely to land on an NL East team from the Cubs. The Atlanta Braves have a quality team and they desperately need a third baseman. While rumors have connected them to Josh Donaldson, with many even presenting the Braves as the frontrunner for his services, Donaldson hasn’t signed yet and he’s supposedly asking for $110 million.
If teams don’t want to commit nine figures to a 34-year-old, it’s understandable, however the guy has put up at least 5 fWAR in six of the past seven years. The Braves, especially, would understand what a 34-year-old third baseman could give them as they had Donaldson last season, but Bryant isn’t even 30 yet, so it’s a no-brainer to go with the younger stud third baseman here.
In order to make this happen, there are going to have to be some major moving parts. Lots of trade speculation out there has Max Fried and Ender Inciarte coming back to the Cubs, and while that makes a lot of sense as the Cubs get a center fielder and young starting pitcher, I’d like to make this trade a little bit more of a big deal. The Braves have one of the deepest systems in the sport, with five of the top 63 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
My deal starts with Fried, but also includes two of those prospects – outfielder Drew Waters, and pitcher Ian Anderson (do you think he’s an Aqualung fan?). To offset the prospect haul the Cubs would include some untapped potential of their own in outfielder and utility guy Ian Happ. If saving money is what the Cubs truly covet for this offseason, this deal is the one for them – a deal that gives them over $20 million in cost savings for 2020. And, despite the sting of losing a franchise player and MVP, it could work out alright in a couple of years.
With four of the six major league divisions down, the most compelling and difficult-to-trade-with division is next up in the divisional trade series – the Cubs own, the NL Central.