What would it take for a team to acquire third baseman Kris Bryant from the Cubs?
According to reporting by The Athletic's David O'Brien, two pitching prospects and a bat would get the job done.
Talking with someone close to #Cubs, sounds like 2 pitching prospects and a bat would get it done for Bryant. They're assuming he loses grievance & has 2 yrs left before free agency). #Braves match up better than other potential suitors if they're willing to part with prospects.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) December 11, 2019
That package assumes Bryant loses his ongoing grievance case regarding service time. If Bryant wins the case, he'd hit free agency next offseason rather than after 2021 and his trade value lessens.
O'Brien's report doesn't mean that's the exact return the Cubs would get in a potential Bryant deal, let alone that they'll trade him. But it does give you an idea of what the Cubs would seek in return for the 2016 National League MVP.
The Cubs need to replenish their barren farm system and have specifically struggled to develop homegrown starting pitching under Theo Epstein. O'Brien mentions the Braves as a possible trade partner. Five of Atlanta's top 10 prospects (per MLB Pipeline) are starting pitchers, and they also have several young arms, including Max Fried and Sean Newcomb, potentially available from their big-league rotation.
Which position player the Braves would offer the Cubs is an interesting question. The Cubs are searching for upgraded center field production, and Atlanta's Ender Inciarte would address that need. He's a three-time Gold Glover and holds a career .286/.338/.390 slash line, but his career 94 wRC+ is below average.
Cubs fans will likely scoff at the reported trade package, but trading Bryant would be about the long-term outlook on the North Side. Acquiring two young starting pitchers would address that need and help the Cubs remain competitve past 2021.
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