The Los Angeles Dodgers are spiraling after a torrid start to the season, due largely in part to their offense falling flat. After suffering a series sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, one can’t help but wonder if Andrew Friedman has Kris Bryant on the brain.
Now, yes. Los Angeles brought back Justin Turner on a two-year deal this winter and he’ll lock down third base. But as we’ve seen this year, Bryant is far more than a third baseman at this point. He’s seen time all over the diamond this season, including all three outfield spots and even first base.
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That depth and versatility, paired with his MVP-caliber offensive performance so far, make Bryant the Cubs’ most valuable trade chip with more than two months until the trade deadline. While Chicago could, at least in theory, be content to ride out the 2021 season with their stars intact, after trading Yu Darvish, there’s no reason to take that course of action.
Kris Bryant’s trade value will never be higher than it is right now. And, knowing that, Jed Hoyer needs to be checking in with Friedman on the former National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
When I chatted with Buster Olney a few weeks back, he talked about how the smart play this season might be jumping the typical trade season and start fielding calls in June, rather than July. But if you pick up the phone now, in early May, the theory is that someone like Bryant is even more valuable than he could be in a month or two.
The 29-year-old jack-of-all-trades is batting .308/.395/.673 with a league-leading dozen doubles and a 193 OPS+. He’s also smacked nine home runs, driven in 22 runs and, as I noted, has done all this while playing a different position on a near-daily basis.
There are few teams capable of both assembling a prospect package that will entice the Cubs front office and eat the remainder of Bryant’s salary for this year. In his final trip through salary arbitration, the three-time All-Star is earning $19.5 million – which is hardly a sum that a small market team can stomach.
Cubs, Dodgers are the perfect match in a Kris Bryant trade
But the Dodgers? They’re the model franchise, one that blends a seemingly endless pipeline of young talent with the big market financial power teams like the Cubs should be flexing, as well. Knowing both of those things, Los Angeles makes the perfect partner in a Kris Bryant trade.
If the Dodgers are serious about defending their crown, they need to get the offense sorted out. Adding a player like Bryant puts them in a position where their lineup may very well be unmatched in all of baseball – and to defend their title this October.