Rumors have surfaced that the Chicago Cubs are listening to offers for Kris Bryant. What does this mean for the rest of the NL Central, and the Milwaukee Brewers in particular?
The Chicago White Sox are sniffing around Bryce Harper, and the Chicago Cubs are considering a rebuild, or, at least, a ‘reload’? Christian Yelich hasn’t even head the results of the MVP vote, and the off season has already taken a strange turn or two. There’s a zero-percent chance that Kris Bryant could end up on the Milwaukee Brewers, but this move will have an impact on the off season and the 2019 season.
Why are the Cubs looking to deal Bryant?
They’re not? Not really. It sounds like the Theo Epstein and the rest of his brain trust is looking to do whatever he can to make the roster better. The Cubs are actually limited by their budget, well, limited in the sense that they can’t afford Harper. They also have a creaky roster, a poor farm system, and are listening on everyone to improve.
It’s odd that Bryant’s name surfaced, but if they want to reload their roster with two or three MLB-ready, cost-controlled, young players, Bryant’s name makes sense. Bryant passed on a contract extension, and is going year-to-year in salary arbitration until he hits free agency after the 2021 season. The Cubs may want to move on from a player that may not be the cornerstone they thought he was.
What does this mean for the Brewers?
If the Cubs choose to flip Bryant, it means the path to a division title gets a lot easier for the Milwaukee Brewers.
When Bryant was healthy and at the height of his powers, he was a 6.1-to-7.9 WAR player, and the Chicago Cubs were a legit World Series contender.
Last year, Bryant suffered a shoulder injury, was out of the lineup for 60 games, and only managed a 2.3 WAR, and the Cubs lost the division and the Wild Card. If the Cubs can’t compete for World Series with a diminished Bryant, why not look to move on?
Dealing Bryant means the Cubs aren’t contending for a World Series, and the Brewers window to an extended run at the top of the NL Central gets a little wider.
Is there any chance the Brewers deal for Bryant?
There’s virtually no chance that the Chicago Cubs deal Bryant to the Milwaukee Brewers or any other team in the NL Central, even for a ‘godfather’ offer.
The rumors of Bryant’s name getting floated in trade talks is surprising. The Cubs can carry a massive payroll with multiple stars, and have revenue streams that most teams can only dream of. Bryant is a franchise cornerstone, and the exact type of player the Cubs should want to retain. He’s the exact type of player that Milwaukee Brewers fans would like to see dealt out of the division. If the Cubs deal Bryant, it sends a strong signal that they aren’t going to be serious contenders for at least the next year. This is a rumor that fans should pay attention to, but it’s just a rumor until it starts to gain steam or a real trade partner is connected.