Seven-and-a-half games. In the span of a week, the Chicago Cubs have plummeted from the top of the National League Central standings in dramatic fashion. As the team struggles to get any sort of momentum going, the first-place Milwaukee Brewers have won 10 straight for the first time in two decades.
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With just weeks until the trade deadline, Chicago has once again gone from presumptive buyers to sellers – and now have a plethora of dilemmas on their hands.
Do you trade Craig Kimbrel, who is arguably the best closer in the game this year, or do you hold onto him given his more than palatable $16 million option for 2022? What about franchise icons Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez? Do you start dismantling your bullpen in hopes of capitalizing on career years from guys like Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin?
Seriously, I don’t envy Jed Hoyer right now.
For now, though, let’s circle back to Bryant who, for the first two months of the season, was looking like his former MVP self. But since mid-June, the three-time All-Star has been mired in an awful slump and it’s hard not to think he might be playing through yet another injury, as has been the case several times during his Cubs career.
Since June 15, Bryant is slashing .079/.205/.237 with a 31.8 percent strikeout rate. His trade value, which peaked in late May, which is the last time he had a multi-hit game prior to Friday’s loss to the Reds, has come crashing back to earth during that span. But that’s not going to stop teams from checking in on him.
Chicago Cubs Rumors: Talks with Mets over Kris Bryant could pick up steam
One such team in the market for third base help? The New York Mets.
New York has reportedly checked in on Josh Donaldson as a potential option at the hot corner, but you know Mets fans are going to be far more intrigued by Bryant given his youth and versatility defensively. Let’s not forget those hot Kris Bryant rumors from the offseason either. At one point, KB actually got texts welcoming him to the Big Apple.
JD Davis hasn’t gotten the job done with the leather this year at third and, perhaps more at play here, the fact that he’s sidelined with a finger injury. The Mets enter the weekend atop a wildly competitive National League East, where all five teams are separated by just 8 1/2 games and the top four by just four games in the standings.
If Chicago comes out of this weekend series in Cincinnati with nothing to show for it, you can move them solidly into the sellers category. We don’t know if the front office will actually pull the trigger on a Kris Bryant trade, but you can count on hearing a lot of buzz around the slugger in the coming weeks.