We’re in the silly season for trade proposals. There is no better example of that than this trade proposal, made by national baseball writer Joel Sherman on MLB Network, tweeted Thursday by the @CubsLive account:
Whoa whoa whoa whoa. So the Cubs, in this proposal, would send $86 million worth of Jason Heyward’s contract and about $18.5 million worth of Kris Bryant (per a MLB Trade Rumors arbitration estimate) and receive in return a pair of contracts worth about $57 million.
Well now. That’s a savings of about $50 million over the next four years. Great, right?
Not so much. Jay Bruce... well, he’ll be 33 in April and his last good year was 2017. He might be just about done. Jean Segura is nothing special, a 30-year-old shortstop who had a middling year for the Phillies in 2019.
The key to this deal, apparently would be what’s at the bottom of the screen:
Cubs would also receive 3 prospects
Here are the Phillies’ top prospects per mlb.com. To make this deal even somewhat palatable, the Cubs would likely ask for the top three names on that list, third baseman Alec Bohm, righthanded pitcher Spencer Howard and shortstop Bryson Stott.
Bohm was the Phillies’ first-round pick (third overall) in 2016. He’s 23 and in 2019 hit .305/.378/.516 with 30 doubles and 21 home runs across three levels of the Phillies system. Then he hit .361/.397/.528 (26-for-72) with two home runs in the Arizona Fall League.
Howard was the Phillies’ second-round pick in 2017. He is also 23 and in 2019 posted a 2.03 ERA and 0.831 WHIP in 15 starts across three levels of the Phillies system. He walked just 16 and struck out 94 in 71 innings. Then he made six starts in the Arizona Fall League and posted a 2.11 ERA and 0.938 WHIP with 27 strikeouts in 21⅓ innings.
Stott was the Phillies’ first-round pick (14th overall) last June. He is 22 and hit .295/.391/.494 in 46 games for the Phillies’ Rookie League and Low-A teams after he signed last summer.
Beyond being the top Phillies prospect, all three of these players are in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, numbers 34, 88 and 89 respectively.
The Cubs don’t have anyone like these players in their system, except Nico Hoerner, who ranks 47th in that list. Nico is the only Cub in that Top 100 list.
This makes that deal a bit more intriguing. I still don’t think I’d do it, because this is a rebuild sort of deal. One or more of those prospects would have to wind up on the Cubs’ 25-man roster, likely Bohm, who would presumably replace Bryant at third base. Howard would have a shot at the Cubs’ rotation in 2020, but he’s made six starts above A ball. It would be a huge risk. To be clear, this is more than just a “retool” trade, it’s almost a rebuild-type deal. It would be a very bold move, but then, Theo & Co. have promised some major changes from the Cubs as they were mostly constituted from 2015-19.
If the Cubs did make this deal, then I’d think they would re-sign Nicholas Castellanos, as the money saved on the contracts would allow them to do that. They could even release Bruce and simply eat the one year remaining on his deal.
Would you make this trade if those prospects were included and the Cubs then re-signed Castellanos?
Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward to the Phillies for Jay Bruce, Jean Segura and the Phillies’ three top prospects?
This poll is closed
Yes! Be bold! It just might work.
No way. This is crazy talk.