DeKALB — The Chicago Cubs might be looking to part ways with third baseman Kris Bryant amidst his denied grievance claim for service time manipulation. Bryant and his agent Scott Boras claimed the Cubs kept him off the opening day roster in 2015 so the club could have an extra year of control.
Arbitrator Mark Irvings ruled against that claim by Bryant’s camp and ruled in favor of the Cubs on Jan. 29. With the ruling the Cubs now have Bryant under control for the next two seasons, but in the minds of many, Bryant’s days as a Cub are numbered.
ESPN Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan reported that trade discussions for Bryant have been ongoing for most of the off-season. Passan also reports that the Cubs are looking to retool after a disappointing third place finish in the National League Central last season.
One trade possibility that has popped up several times over the off-season is trading Bryant for Colorado Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado. On Jan. 30, ESPN reporter Jesse Rogers confirmed the Rockies and Cubs have discussed the Arenado for Bryant trade.
Arenado has played all seven seasons with the Rockies and has finished in the top 10 for the NL MVP the last five seasons. He also has won the last seven Gold Gloves at third base and the last three Platinum Gloves for best fielder.
The Rockies extended Arenado right before the last season with an eight-year contract worth $260 million, with a player opt out after the 2021 season.
The extension does have a no-trade clause, but Arenado would wave the clause to join the Cubs, according to Passan.
If the Cubs make this trade, they will take a slight hit in offensive production from Arenado, but they will get way better defensively.
In games played at Coors Field, Arenado has a batting average of .324 and has driven in 446 runs. Those numbers take huge dip when he plays on the road, in 2,169 plate appearances he is only batting .265 with 288 RBI’s.
Compared to Bryant, that’s not great. At Wrigley, he has a batting average of .280 and has driven in 206 runs. In away games Bryant’s batting is better at .289, but there is a slight decrease in run production with 198 RBI’s.
With that being said, I think that Cubs should hold on to Bryant for a little bit longer and see if the Rockies or another team can offer a good deal. If the Rockies are serious about trading for Bryant, they need to send more than Arenado.
The trade I had in mind was Bryant and Player to be Named Later for Arenado and either starting pitcher Kyle Freeland or German Márquez. Outside of Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs lack young pitchers with MLB experience, and both of these options will fix that problem.
Márquez, who is 24, currently has an away ERA of 3.78 and only allows a batting average of .238. Freeland’s stats are not as good, but still respectful with an away ERA of 3.96 and has only allowed 25 home runs in his 1,020 batters faced.
For the Player to be Named Later aspect of the trade, the Cubs would send over a low level minor leaguer in the trade.
USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale also reports that the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have interests in Bryant. So as days go by its more and more likely Bryant will leave Chicago.