Cubs: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo would fit perfectly with the Yankees
By Jake Misener
The Chicago Cubs have seemingly turned things around, riding an overpowering bullpen and balanced offensive attack to a season-high four games over .500 mark. Still, the front office faces a decision in the next two months: to go for it one last time with the beloved core or sell at the deadline with an eye toward the future.
The three biggest question marks? Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez – three key pieces of the 2016 World Series championship team. Extension talks with the trio, at least to this point, haven’t gone anywhere and, now, Jed Hoyer risks watching all of them walk at year’s end with nothing to show in return.
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So while Chicago might decide to roll the dice and ride it out the rest of the year, it’s certainly worth considering potential fits in a trade. And, while we’ve focused on the other team in the Big Apple, the New York Yankees look like they could be suitors for both Bryant and Rizzo.
New York first baseman Luke Voit has a grade 2 oblique strain, leaving the Bronx Bombers piecing things together at first. Rizzo would be a perfect fit for the Yankees, giving them a badly-needed left-handed bat and shoring up the defense with his Gold Glove-caliber work at first.
Cubs, Yankees make sense – to a degree
On the year, Rizzo is still finding his rhythm, but still boasts a 125 OPS+ through his first 46 games. If on the Yankees, his .366 OBP would rank second on the team behind only Aaron Judge. Such a move would also allow DJ LeMahieu to move back over to second base, which has been a black hole to this point offensively outside of Tyler Wade.
As for Bryant, he’s probably the most adaptable trade target in the game this year. Not only is he putting up MVP-quality numbers at the dish (176 OPS+ entering Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh), but he’s played near-every position on the diamond, including both corner infield and all three outfield spots.
Up to this point, I’d never considered a team trading for both guys this summer, but given the Yankees’ injury woes, especially in the outfield, where Aaron Hicks is out indefinitely and Giancarlo Stanton is always a question mark, it makes a ton of sense to insert both guys into the starting lineup.
A blockbuster such as this would dramatically shake up not just each team’s respective division, but the entire landscape heading into the second half of the season and the postseason. A Yankees lineup with Rizzo, Bryant, Stanton, Judge, LeMahieu and former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres would be ready to take aim at the defending champion Dodgers in a prospective Fall Classic.
Would it come cheap? Absolutely not. It makes more sense for the Cubs to split up the two and, in return, receive a pair of prospect packages. But if the Yankees offer the right prospect, maybe Hoyer would be enticed enough to make what would easily be the most unpopular trade in team history.