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Kris Bryant trade chatter, a trade proposal, and myth busting

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The trade deadline is 15 days away.

Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Cubs could trade Kris Bryant before the end of this month.

About five or six entirely valid outlooks on this possibility exist. I'd imagine a few hinge on whether you have money spent on remaining Cubs games this year, but I appreciate any response, from "extend him" to "trade him" and any of the variations. However, as I geared for the 2021 Draft, one of the popular comments rang a little bit hollow. I'm here to bust a myth regarding trading Bryant, but I hold no animosity if "give him a lifetime contract" is your preferred option.

For various reasons, for about three weeks before the draft, few things mattered less. Few things mattered, at all. Forcing myself to be interested in a topic has rarely worked.

About 20 hours before the draft, I started to care, again. Oddly, and very uncharacteristically, the 20/80 rankings drew me back. On draft day, there might be a 50 guy or two. After that come the 45+ guys, then the 45s. The 40+ guys follow, then the 40s, and the 35+ types.

In effect, the 45 grade is a "first round grade." This cycle, there were a few under 30, with about 15 more 40+ types. After that, come a looooooooong string of 40s, and a longer string of 35s.

Different years will be different, but 45 is generally first round grade. The way the compensation is set up (for now), if the Cubs keep Bryant and make him a Qualifying Offer, they'd get a draft pick in 2022 (if the QO is declined) in the range of pick 70. Give or take. Not 110. Not 26. Not 44. About 70.

The compensation for one Bryant would be one choice amid a bunch of 40 grades. Could the Cubs get lucky? Yes. Could they get very unlucky? Yes. 40s are what they are. They're rather good lottery ticket types, but a 40 is a 40. It could be a Prep bat 40, or a College arm 40, but it's a 40. 40s are similar, but not the same.

***

Amidst my trade chatter, what one often finds is "when both sides disagree, you're close." If the Mets fan and Cubs fan are at full-throat on a trade, it might be kind of close. However, what seems more useful, is near agreement.

A recent report had the Cubs scouting St. Lucie Mets games. It could be bogus, or accurate for a different trade. (Andrew Chafin or Joc Pederson, for example.) I've developed enough of a rapport with a few people on Twitter that I floated a trade idea.

How about Bryant for two of Jaylen Palmer (infielder at St. Lucie), Alex Ramirez (an outfielder at St. Lucie), and Robert Dominguez (a pitcher at the St. Lucie compound)? I know many of you might hate that trade. Which was very problematic. Until Sunday morning.

The question wasn't: "Would Cubs fans like the trade?" The question became: "What are the rankings of those prospects?" Especially since so many Mets fans consider that a tolerable loss, since it keeps their top seven prospects.

Whether you like that trade proposal or not, and I'm fine with you demanding more, these are the Fangraphs values for the players in question.

Dominguez 40

Ramirez 40+

Palmer 40

Whether this agreeable trade to Mets fans is acceptable to you or not, two 40 prospects (the worst of the trade options) are better than the expected 40 draft value return for around pick 70 in 2022. Which is if the Cubs qualify for the pick or not (due to labor strife). A 40 and a 40, or a 40 and a 40+ are likely a better payoff than the 70th pick in the 2022 Draft.

You can hate Tom Ricketts forever, or disregard baseball economics entirely. If the Cubs’ parting gift for Bryant going elsewhere is any better than a 40 prospect, however you'd assess that, it's a better deal than pick 70. Pretty much any other argument still might have some degree of weight. Thinking the Cubs will get better than one 40 grade prospect on draft day for compensation for losing Bryant shouldn't. Nor should "two 40s or a 40+ and a 40" being worse than "a 40."

However, being disgusted by ownership not wanting to keep Kris Bryant is entirely valid.