Cubs Rumors: Is Kris Bryant next for the Mets after trading Steven Matz?

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Under new owner Steve Cohen, the New York Mets are poised to be big-time players for years to come, both in the trade market and on the free agent front.

After trading for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco earlier this winter, the Mets have repeatedly been connected to Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, whom the team is actively shopping in hopes of shedding his $19.5 million salary.

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With the Cubs reportedly adamantly against eating any of that money to accommodate a trade, you can assume the list of teams with the ability to absorb that kind of deal is fairly small. So seeing the Mets make a salary-cutting trade involving Steven Matz on Wednesday certainly turned some heads.

New York sent Matz and his $5.2 million salary to Toronto in exchange for a trio of prospects, none of whom are considered to be high-ceiling guys.

Now, the most likely meaning of this is clearing out some money ahead of a Trevor Bauer signing. We know the Mets have formally made an offer to the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner – and we know he won’t come cheap.

A Cubs-Mets Kris Bryant trade makes sense

But on the off chance Bauer lands elsewhere, the Matz trade could help New York take on Bryant’s weighty salary in 2021. We all know the spiel by this point: a former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP coming off the worst season of his career, battling through trying to once again enjoy the game he’s played most of his life.

Adding Bryant to a lineup that already posts Lindor, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil – among others – would immediately improve the Mets offensively. Currently, the club has JD Davis penciled in at third base but, if healthy, there’s no comparing him to Bryant.

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After Toronto – the other most prominent suitor for Bryant in recent weeks – signed Marcus Semien this week, it became much harder to envision a trade lining up there given the team’s position player depth. Not impossible, but I have to admit that move has probably made me look harder to find signs the Cubs front office is pivoting back to the Mets in the closing weeks of the offseason.