The Mets going all-in and trading for Cubs star Kris Bryant actually makes sense.
Cubs fans, these aren’t the same old New York Mets. Since Steve Cohen’s purchase of the team was approved, fans in the Big Apple have had their eyes on the biggest free agents in hopes of winning it all for the first time since 1986.
On Thursday, the Metropolitans pulled off a blockbuster, adding superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for infielder Amed Rosario and a trio of prospects in Andres Gimenez (#5 in the organization, per Baseball America), right-hander Josh Wolf (#8) and outfielder Isaiah Greene.
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The entire baseball world knew Cleveland was going to trade Lindor before Opening Day. And, seizing the opportunity and taking advantage of a market where more than half of the league wants to have high-dollar contracts on their payroll, the Mets immediately became legitimate contenders in 2021.
That same mentality and ability to spend could make New York the perfect fit in a Kris Bryant trade, as well. According to USA Today, the Mets and Cubs have had discussions regarding the former NL MVP this offseason – although just how recently those talks took place is a bit of a question mark.
“We’re not perfect,’’ Sandy Alderson told the media following Thursday’s trade, “but this moves us forward quite a bit. We still have work to do. We’ll see if it takes us out of certain players or become a candidate for certain players.”
Bryant, like Lindor, is heading into his final year of team control. The Mets know the Cubs are desperate to shed payroll – and are seemingly driven, above all else, by the bottom line. You saw as much in the return Chicago netted in the Yu Darvish trade: a collection of far-off prospects that fall pretty definitively into the ‘high-risk, high-reward’ category.
Unlike Darvish, who was coming off a career year in which he finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young race, Chicago would be selling for pennies on the dollar with Bryant – which is precisely why the Mets might be able to swoop in and steal away a guy who was once heralded as one of the greatest Cubs players of all-time.
If Lindor and Carrasco netted you a couple top 10 prospects (along with Rosario and a third prospect, who was regarded as one of the top 50 talents in the 2020 MLB Draft, per BA) – then Cubs fans better come to grips with what sort of return we’d be talking about in a Bryant trade. It’s not going to be a top 10, or even a top 15 prospect.
You should have known as much already. The team’s priority, should it decide to move the slugger, is not having to eat any of the projected $18.6 million salary he’ll earn this season. Knowing as much, you could very well be looking at maybe a league-average big leaguer and more prospects that are harder to project.
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If the Mets want to add Bryant’s contract, they’re more than capable of doing so while also staying under the luxury tax. While I still think holding onto Bryant until the deadline is the better move, with a former Cubs front office exec running the show in Queens and money to spend, I start to worry his days in Chicago are numbered.