With two days (and a few hours) left until the 2021 MLB trade deadline, I’m going to make the sort of post I usually don’t.
With the Trade Deadline just three days away, the Giants have talked with the Cubs about star third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant, sources told MLB.com’s Jon Morosi on Tuesday. Morosi adds that for their side, Chicago is looking at San Francisco’s No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline (and No. 17 overall), catcher Joey Bart.
This is interesting for a number of reasons. First, Bryant had not really been linked to the Giants until now. Second, the Giants currently have the best record in baseball, which they have compiled without Bryant. It wouldn’t seem to be an urgent need to trade for him.
Lastly, why are the Cubs interested in Joey Bart? Yes, Bart is a top prospect, the Giants’ No. 1 pick (second overall) in 2018 out of Georgia Tech. But Bart, at least so far in his professional career, has done nothing but catch. If the Cubs are seeking Bart, does this mean they’re in the market to trade Willson Contreras?
Apart from two games with the Giants, Bart has spent this entire year at Triple-A Sacramento, where he is currently hitting .310/.372/.532 (53-for-171) with 11 doubles and nine home runs. Looks like a “can’t-miss” guy.
Here’s a bit more:
Bart, the former No. 2 overall pick, likely would be available only in a deal that involves players in addition to Bryant, a free agent after this year. Bryant would have great value to the Giants, with whom he could play 1B, 3B, and LF. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2021
Personally, I would not send “more” to the Giants in a deal like this, unless pitching was also coming back to the Cubs, and preferably major league pitching.
And also, there’s this, from a Giants writer for The Athletic:
There's a lot of media chatter about Joey Bart for Kris Bryant today, but I have this on good authority: the Giants are backing off any trade proposal with the Cubs in which they insist on Joey Bart.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 28, 2021
As always, we await developments.
One other thing I wanted to touch on in this trade-related post are some comments made by Bryant about the human side of this time of year. These guys are not just pieces to be swapped around on spreadsheets. They are people with real lives and concerns outside the ballpark. From KB:
Asked Kris Bryant postgame how he’s taking care of his mental health amid trade speculation and the approaching trade deadline as the attention surrounding athletes’ mental health has been raised by Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 28, 2021
Bryant’s thoughts on the topic: pic.twitter.com/6SjActucTH
Kris Bryant, on trade chatter:— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 28, 2021
"Some of this stuff is just exhausting, it really is. I'm just trying to do my best to keep my focus where it needs to be and help whoever I can along the way here, and just take everything in stride. And whatever happens, it's out of my control."
Please remember this when you’re discussing trades. We know the deadline is near, we know the Cubs are re-tooling (or “rebuilding,” or whatever you want to call it) and more players could be dealt. Just remember they’re people with lives, just like you and me.
Kris Bryant, on openness to re-sign with Cubs, no matter what happens in next few days:— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 28, 2021
"I've had some of the best memories here and the best times of my life. So, it'd be really stupid of me not to say, hey, if they want me here, of course, I'm always going to listen."
Is it likely Bryant returns to the Cubs in 2022, whether traded or not? Probably not, and I think we all know it. This is your reminder that Bryant drives this effort, not his agent Scott Boras. Boras does what his client wants, not the other way around.
From the time of this post there are 54 hours to the deadline (though, of course, news about deals can still come out after the 3 p.m. CT Friday deadline). Have at it.