Who are the New York Yankees? We’re about to find out over the next three weeks when the players on the field either convince the front office to buy or force them to sell at the trade deadline.
You know who else is in a similar predicament? The Chicago Cubs.
Once believed to be a legitimate dark horse contender to win the NL Central after an offseason that featured some wild trade rumors after they shipped Yu Darvish to San Diego, the Cubbies have come crashing back down to earth. This team was 38-27 on June 13. They’re now 42-44 (insert new record on Saturday).
The Brewers are among the best teams in MLB, the Cardinals are more built to buy than to sell regardless of how they’re playing, and the Reds are a pleasant surprise that could very well sneak in as a wild card if their offensive barrage continues.
Like the Yankees, the Cubs have three weeks to pick it up, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it was always a long shot for them to be buyers at the trade deadline. They didn’t work to actively get better this past offseason and it’s a foregone conclusion they’re losing Kris Bryant this offseason.
So if Chicago decides to sell even more assets, how do they match up with the Yankees if general manager Brian Cashman decides to buy and Hal Steinbrenner opts to blow past the luxury tax threshold?
These three Yankees-Cubs trade would be perfect if Chicago decides to sell.
3. Kris Bryant to Yankees for Clint Frazier, Luis Gil and Anthony Volpe
Kris Bryant wouldn’t check all the boxes for the Yankees, but he gives them a much more potent back and viable defensive option in left field. If need be, he can play third base, too, which would help manager Aaron Boone with flexibility and giving guys rest.
Sorry Cubs fans, but this is Bryant’s last year in Chicago. You got your moment, though — the 2016 World Series was epic. Time to part with an asset before losing him for nothing!
This is the most unlikely of all the proposed trades, but it’s not out of the question. Bryant’s a rental and the Yankees have plenty to give. If he can reopen the team’s World Series window in 2021, that’ll change everything and revitalize the city. It’s not out of the question, either.
Why wouldn’t a package of Clint Frazier, No. 5 prospect Luis Gil and No. 11 prospect Anthony Volpe entice Jed Hoyer? Frazier, though downright bad in 2021, could benefit from a change of scenery. Beyond his vertigo diagnosis, he has no place on this Yankees team, especially if he continues to struggle on the big stage. That’s a controllable outfielder for the Cubs to work with for a few years.
Additionally, the Cubs always need pitching. Gil just hit Triple-A this year and rose fast after dominating at Double-A. He could hit the majors next year. His fastball sits in the high-90s, which is paired with a “power” breaking ball that is described as a slurve. His changeup continues to improve as well. He’s a starter right now, and has been good in that role, but some scouts see him as a high-leverage reliever. Win-win, no?
As for Volpe, he could help the Cubs in the event there’s an issue keeping Javy Baez in Chicago for the long haul. There’s nobody in the Cubs’ system ready within the next couple of years to make the jump to MLB, and while Volpe’s timeline isn’t the most favorable, he’s tearing the cover off the ball at Single-A and should get the bump to Double-A for the second half. Assuming all goes well there, you’re looking at Triple-A in 2022 at some point. He’s a fast-rising prospect the Yankees simply may not have room for.
Better to get three players for Bryant than a lousy draft pick, right?