With the Chicago Cubs going on an extended losing streak, there is some thought that they may be sellers at the trade deadline. Should the Atlanta Braves consider acquiring Kris Bryant?
A few weeks ago, it looked like the Cubs could be buyers at the deadline and attempt to make one more run with their current core.
Now, they find themselves 7.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers, and it might make sense for the Cubs to be sellers with the Atlanta Braves as a possible suitor. The biggest trade asset in their possession is Kris Bryant.
Kris Bryant is having a solid season and would strengthen the Braves lineup. He also has the ability to play multiple positions defensively that would allow the Braves to move him around the field.
Does it make sense for the Braves to make this move? Just a few weeks away from the trade deadline, the Braves could easily find themselves as buyers or sellers this season.
Should the Atlanta Braves consider acquiring Bryant in 2021?
A Stellar Season
This season, Kris Bryant is hitting .268/.349/.498 sixteen home runs, fifty runs, forty-three RBIs, four stolen bases, .363 wOBA, 130 wRC+, and a 132 OPS+. An incredible season, especially when one remembers how bad his 2020 season was thanks to a combination of injuries.
Thankfully for Bryant, he appears to be healthy and showing that he can still be an All-Star caliber player in the league. Thankfully for the Chicago Cubs, Bryant has repaired some of his trade value.
Bryant is no slouch on the basepaths either. A 1.5 UBR actually ranks slightly higher than Ronald Acuña Jr. (1.4 UBR) on the season.
Bryant is a great athlete, which allows him to play multiple positions defensively.
Naturally, he is a third baseman, however, he has played multiple positions this season that gives the Cubs more flexibility with their lineups.
Here is Bryant’s innings played and DRS by position:
- Third Base: 183.1 innings, -2 DRS
- Right Field: 169.0 innings, 0 DRS
- Left Field: 127.1 innings, -1 DRS
- First Base: 92.0 innings, -1 DRS
- Center Field: 83.2 innings, 0 DRS
He will not be winning a Gold Glove anytime soon, but he can be serviceable at a few positions, especially in the outfield.
He would most likely find himself in left field if traded to the Braves, but his ability to move around and help give guys nights off would also be an added value.
Bryant is a great player and is having a stellar 2021 season. If the Cubs do make him available at the deadline, he would be a huge acquisition to any team making a World Series push.
What would it cost the Braves?
As mentioned earlier, Bryant has repaired his trade value with is performance in the first half of the 2021 season. However, the fact that he will become an unrestricted free agent after the season, and thus be a rental, caps his value somewhat.
According to MLB’s preseason farm system rankings, the Cubs have the 22nd best farm system. Meaning, if they did sell, they should be looking at getting the best talent available rather than looking at certain positions at this point.
Over the past few years, the Cubs have had trouble developing pitching prospects. The Braves have an abundance of pitching prospects, and could be willing to move one, maybe two in a deal.
With the Cubs potentially losing Javy Baez, a guy like Braden Shewmake could be intriguing for the Cubbies. He projects as a super-utility player but would be able to take over shortstop in the short term if the Cubs move on from Baez.
A potential trade idea:
The Braves could try to grab a bullpen arm as well. There would probably be a few smaller pieces on the move in any potential deal.
Personally, I do not think this move makes sense for the Braves. Especially if they do not have an extension in place with Bryant at the time of the trade.
One reason being is that the Braves arguably are not in a position to make a move for a guy that would (most likely) be a rental.
I think they would be better served looking at candidates that have control beyond the 2021 season.
I would love to see Bryant in a Braves uniform, but in my opinion, it does not make logical sense for this move to be made.
I think the Braves should be active at the trade deadline, but they should probably be looking at alternative options.