By Kyle Smith
According to WMVP’s David Kaplan, there are “whispers” that the Cubs could shop the former MVP winner in a future one-and-one deal for NL Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom. This begs the question: Would you rather have Kris Bryant or Jacob deGrom on your team?
For the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, this question might be on their minds after former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player recipient, Kris Bryant, recently declined a contract extension that would have paid him more than $200 million. The Cubs declined to comment on the matter.
In the last several months, Cubs upper management reportedly approached Bryant and super agent Scott Boras about a potential contract extension. A contract renewal would have given the Cubs player control of the World Series-winning third baseman into his mid-30s, but Bryant and Boras seem to be more interested in getting a huge bite at the free agent apple once his current contract runs out after the 2021 season.
Bryant will be eligible for arbitration this offseason and after that until his present contract runs out, and he made a record $10.85 million in his first year of arbitration. Did Bryant decline the $200+ million contract extension because he can continue to make huge money in single-year arbitration years? Possibly.
The fact is the more the Cubs wait on getting Bryant signed past 2021, the more pressing the situation becomes to trade him instead of losing him for nothing via unrestricted free agency.
Ah yes, and this is where the potential of acquiring deGrom in a trade comes to the table.
deGrom, the heavy favorite to win this year’s National League Cy Young Award, won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 regular season. He’s on the right side of 30 years old, with his 1.70 final ERA this past season joining Zack Greinke as the only two NL pitchers since 1995 to post ERA’s at or below 1.7.
On his show Kap and Company, Kaplan discussed the possibility of a deGrom-for-Bryant super trade. He doesn’t have confirmed sources about a trade being discussed with the Mets, but he hears “whispers” of something potentially brewing if the Mets become very interested in moving deGrom’s services to the Cubbies.
The Mets ace turns 32 years old once he becomes an UFA, and with the current state of the starting rotation being very much in flux with the constant injury woes of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, it might be prudent for the Metropolitans to move on from their Cy Young winner.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the Mets moved on from a Cy Young-winning ace soon after he won the award. Remember knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and his departure from the Mets to the Blue Jays?
Then again, why would the Mets, who have so many more issues than just a hole at third base/left field, want to give Bryant a $250+ million extension when deGrom could still re-sign in the winter of 2020/2021 at $15-20-23 million annually?
Also, Kris Bryant’s current trade stock is okay, while deGrom’s is at an all-time high. Would the Mets want to sacrifice one of the best pitchers in the game for a guy who had a nagging shoulder injury to the point of missing 64 games during the 2018 campaign? His power numbers declined from 29 home runs in 2017 to just 13 this past season.
A lot of questions to answer for both clubs. Personally, it seems like a Bryant-for-deGrom, one-for-one blockbuster deal would be a win for the Cubs. They get a much-needed starting pitcher in the deal, with them being able to move David Bote to third base, move Javier Baez back to his natural second base spot, and possibly finish off the deal by going all-out for free agent superstar Manny Machado at shortstop.
Once again, there aren’t any confirmed trade talks going on at the moment, but Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein are way too smart to allow Bryant to walk away for nothing.