The ever-widening gap between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs in the National League Central has grown to chasmic proportions, with David Ross’ club falling 9 1/2 games out following Monday’s disheartening loss to St. Louis.
We’re now just 10 days from the July 30 deadline – a date Cubs fans have had circled on their calendar in pencil for months and red Sharpie for the last few weeks, following the team’s 11-game losing streak that took them from buyers to sellers. There’s just one problem. In the Cubs’ struggles, we’ve seen several potential trade chips lose value with poor play.
Chicago Cubs trade chips whose trade value is plummeting: #1 – Kris Bryant
Don’t get me wrong. Kris Bryant is still going to net a solid return when Chicago trades him in the next week-plus. A four-time All-Star, former Rookie of the Year and MVP and a plus bat capable of playing five positions? That’s valuable no matter how you slice it. But when you break down Bryant’s performance this season, it’s been a real Jekyll and Hyde-type showing thus far.
He still boasts a 127 OPS+ but that number is largely buoyed by his early-season performance. In April, he put up an MVP-caliber 1.078 OPS and followed it up in May with an almost-as-impressive .961 mark. Then, the bottom fell out for Bryant, who hit .114 with a .205 OBP in the month of June. It’s no coincidence the Cubs’ free-fall aligned almost perfectly with his struggles.
The former first-rounder has bounced back in July, but only to a degree. Through the first three weeks of the month, he’s batted .286/.333/.429 – hardly a poor showing, but definitely not what he did early on. After smacking 12 home runs through the end of May, Bryant has just four since.
Like I said, he’s still valuable for a lot of reasons. But he’s definitely not nearly as valuable as he would have been had the Cubs shopped him at the end of May, when he was a legitimate threat to bring home the second MVP honors of his career.