After the Chicago Cubs traded Yu Darvish to San Diego, they signaled to the league that they are ready to punt the 2021 season. Since then, former MVP third baseman Kris Bryant has been one of the biggest names available on the trade market — especially after the Frankie Lindor trade.
Now, could the Dodgers get in the mix? With Justin Turner still a free agent and rumored to be apart in negotiations with LA, there’s an opening at third base for the boys in blue.
So could Andrew Friedman put together a package for the Cubs and Bryant? Absolutely. Should he? That’s a bigger question…
So what does a deal look like? The Dodgers are deep in catching prospects and in starting pitching prospects. Given that Bryant has only a season left of team control and is expected to command a contract in excess of $20 million in arbitration — something the Cubbies do not want to pay — Andrew Friedman is solidly in the driver’s seat for a potential move.
Moreover, the veteran is coming off of the worst campaign of his career.
In only 34 games (reminder: 60 game season), his OPS was nearly 250 points below his career average as he battled injuries. Still, since his debut in 2015, he’s been one of the game’s top offensive threats with a 136 wRC+ in 740 career games, perhaps spelling a safe assumption that he’ll rebound in a full 162 game season.
Of course, the heart of Dodgers fans will break seeing Justin Turner leave via free agency in this scenario. But if the two sides are as apart as the reports say, then you couldn’t say it was for a lack of trying with LA.
Still, in all likelihood, JT and Friedman will work out a fair middle ground before the start of spring training and Bryant will remain a Cub through opening day. But nothing is set in stone.