Should the Yankees consider a trade for Kris Bryant?
Could Kris Bryant be a good fit for the Yankees?
The Chicago Cubs seem to be at a bit of a crossroads this offseason. Their only two viable starters under contract are Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks. Four of their star players — Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez — are entering contract years. And you know they’re going to be stingy with money as they work to figure out their plans.
Perhaps the New York Yankees could help them out. Bryant’s apparently fallen out of favor with the franchise and has yet to earn a contract extension despite winning Rookie of the Year and MVP before leading the team to its first World Series title in 108 years. His agent being Scott Boras doesn’t exactly help, but the Cubs didn’t help themselves at all after starting off the relationship with a controversial service-time issue.
Should general manager Brian Cashman, considering all those factors, explore a trade for Bryant this offseason?
Woah! Relax guys. We don’t want to ditch Gio Urshela either. He’s already a Yankees fan favorite. But when you consider Bryant’s experience and pedigree, it’s certainly intriguing. He’s got 740 MLB games and 39 postseason games under his belt vs Urshela’s 342 and 21, and they’re the same age (28).
Urshela has one season with over 20 home runs. Bryant has four, and two with more than 30. Urshela has a career .753 OPS. Bryant’s is .889. Urshela’s never been an All-Star. Bryant has three times. That’s all cool, right?
But Bryant isn’t cheap. He’s set to earn nearly $19 million in 2021, and you have to think Boras is ready to negotiate a mega deal once he hits free agency. Additionally, his defensive numbers aren’t all that great at the hot corner. Bryant has -14 defensive runs saved and a -0.2 dWAR for his career. And his days in left field appear to be over for the most part.
As for Gio, he was nominated for a Gold Glove in 2020. He has seven defensive runs saved for his career (though six of them came this past season) in addition to a 1.3 dWAR. We’d like to think he passes the eye test over Bryant the last two years, too.
And perhaps most importantly, Gio costs pennies compared to Bryant. He’ll only cost the Yankees a shade over $5 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2021 and will be under club control for two more years. Assuming he continues on this trajectory performance-wise, he’ll still likely be a lot cheaper than Bryant in his final arb year.
Those latter two factors have to weigh heaviest for the Yankees. They already have a very high payroll and need to make other pertinent additions that will cost them. They need another lefty bat. They need more effective infield depth. They need a good starter. They need an impact reliever. Taking on Bryant’s deal will significantly hinder those endeavors.
We know Bryant is there for the taking, but it’s just not the Yankees’ time to pull the trigger. They have a cheaper version in the form of a late-bloomer at third base and they’ll likely keep it that way while trying to make adjustments/additions elsewhere.