Should the Twins Trade for Kris Bryant?
Image courtesy of © Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY SportsAfter years spent building up their core players, the Chicago Cubs appear to be stuck in no-mans land this offseason. They would like to add to their team (which greatly underperformed in 2019), but they do not have the payroll flexibility to do so. Additionally, their farm system is all but depleted of impactful prospects that can help the team in the short term. As a result, the Cubs have moved in the direction of potentially trading away some of their core pieces, with an aim at more long-term success. On such piece that has become available is Kris Bryant.
The former second overall pick in the MLB Draft, has been an excellent player since he entered the league in 2015. His debut sparked some controversy, as the Cubs intentionally left him off their opening day roster. Instead, Bryant didn’t make his MLB debut until April 17th, 2015. As a result, the Cubs bought themselves an extra year of team control before Bryant becomes a free agent, which will be after the 2021 season instead of after the 2020 season.
Early reports suggest that the Cubs are asking for a king’s ransom in exchange for Bryant, which could inevitably sway the Twins from making a move for him. However, if the Cubs do see moving Bryant as aligning with their plans for the future of their organization, they might have to come down on their asking price, just to get other teams to enter into the conversation.
When you look around the rest of major league baseball, there aren’t many teams where trading for Kris Bryant makes more sense than it does for the Minnesota Twins. They have a clear need to upgrade at third base (hence their interest in Josh Donaldson), they have the the cap space to take on the expensive final two years of arbitration (Bryant is due $18.6 M in 2020), and they have the prospect capital to make this deal work.
So, what kind of package could the Twins offer that would realistically get the Cubs to bite on a trade for Kris Bryant? I think the starter to this conversation would be around the Twins giving up one of either Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff. If the Cubs are insistent on both, then I don’t think this is a deal that makes much sense for the Twins, but one or the other is reasonable. The Twins might also need to include another prospect a tier down from Lewis and Kiriloff. This includes the likes of Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic. Personally, I see Balazovic the least likely of these players to get dealt away to the Cubs, as they are still trying to compete, and of the group mentioned he is the furthest prospect away. Finally, the Twins might also have to include another prospect or two as kickers, someone like a Cole Sands or Travis Blankenhorn would make sense.
Now, many of you might be thinking this is far too much to give up for two seasons of Kris Bryant, and if so, you are probably right, but the idea is to explore a trade package that could actually get the Cubs to trade away one of the faces of their franchise, while they are still clearly within a competitive window. The Cubs are also reportedly interested in acquiring MLB-ready talent, which could cause the Twins to pull back as they don’t really have much to offer in that regard (outside of Eddie Rosario who would make zero sense for the Cubs to acquire given their current outfield state). At the end of the day, this could be the deciding factor that keeps the Cubs from actually trading away Bryant, but when an opportunity to acquire a player of Kris Bryant’s ability is available, the Twins should at least consider taking a stab at it.
What do you think? Should the Twins look to make a big move for Kris Bryant if they miss out on Josh Donaldson, or look for other alternatives to improve this team for 2020 and beyond? Let us know in the comment section down below.
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