Right here’s the factor that makes Kris Bryant such a fascinating commodity on the commerce market, now that it seems to be just like the Cubs are formally going to be sellers: Just about each single contending group can have a look at Bryant and suppose, “Yep, we’ve got a spot for him!”
That’s uncommon with a place participant, however Bryant has every kind of versatility. Mainly, he’s not a center infielder or a catcher, however that’s it: Simply this 12 months alone, he’s began 15 video games at third base, 13 in proper subject, 10 in left subject, eight at first base and 4 in heart subject. He’s not essentially a Gold Glove man at any place, however he’s actually succesful at every place, which provides a whole lot of further worth.
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And he doesn’t thoughts shifting round, even throughout video games. We listed his “games started” totals, however right here’s the whole variety of video games he’s performed at every place: 24 at third, 20 in proper, 14 in left subject, 10 at first and 10 in heart. It’s a supervisor’s dream to have the ability to go all queens gambit with defensive positioning.
He’s a free agent after this 12 months, which implies he’s a rental. For some groups, that’s unhealthy. For some, it’s good. But when the aim is to get to October — or win a World Collection — that’s a minor element, not a roadblock. This 12 months, he was nice in April and Might, then crummy in June. He’s batting .348 in July’s six-game small pattern dimension.
The place will he be in August? Let’s check out six potential locations.
Why he matches: We’re attempting to cowl all of the bases right here. This doesn’t appear doubtless — the Yankees have already got too many right-handed hitters of their lineup — but when one of many objectives is so as to add a bat and so they don’t just like the left-handed choices on the commerce market, they might do worse than Bryant. Aaron Choose is having a high quality 12 months in proper subject, however let’s check out the OPS+ numbers for the gamers who’ve manned left subject for the Yankees this 12 months …
Miguel Andujar: 83
Clint Frazier: 77
Brett Gardner: 70
Tim Locastro: 43 (together with his time in Arizona)
Mike Tauchman: 54
Bear in mind, the league common quantity for that stat is 100. So, mainly, each left fielder the Yankees have used this season has been properly beneath league common. Yeah, they might use Bryant, and don’t neglect he might spell Gardner (and his .189 batting common) in heart, too, although he’s most likely not a full-time reply there.
Why he matches: Hey, don’t snigger. The Mariners are 4 video games above .500, tied with the Blue Jays within the wild-card race (3 1/2 out of the second spot) and have a greater document than the Yankees. For a franchise that hasn’t been within the postseason since 2001 — the longest streak in baseball — you recognize they’ll at the least discover choices. And bear in mind their GM? The compulsive dealer himself, Jerry DiPoto. It’s not inconceivable to suppose he might commerce for Bryant now, then transfer him once more earlier than the July 30 deadline if the following few weeks are a catastrophe. Seattle’s pitching is serviceable, however the offense wants assist. Kyle Seager’s established at third, and similar with Mitch Haniger in proper, however Bryant could be an improve in left subject or DH.
Why he matches: As we’ve mentioned earlier than, it’s removed from sure that the Braves can be patrons. They’ve had a whole lot of issues discovering any traction in any respect this 12 months. However they’re nonetheless solely a handful of video games out of first within the NL East, and buying and selling for Bryant would type of be taking the slugger away from one other group that will profit from KB’s bat (spoiler). Add Bryant, stick him at third base and transfer Austin Riley to the outfield (he’s a greater hot-corner defender than Riley), win NL East. Easy as that, proper?
Why he matches: Would the Cubs REALLY commerce Bryant to the division rival that simply sprinted previous them in June and delivered the crushing blow to Chicago’s 2021 season? If the one aim is to construct a greater group, and the Brewers make the very best supply, yeah, they completely ought to commerce him up the street to Milwaukee. Positive, the Brewers are a rival of the Cubs, nevertheless it’s not like they’re the Cardinals, proper? It’s not that type of century-long rivalry.
The Brewers have had every kind of harm points this 12 months, and whereas making low-risk offers for a man resembling Rowdy Tellez might presumably work out, including a longtime bat resembling Bryant figures to make a a lot greater impression. He might play heart subject on days when the membership desires extra offense from the place. He might play third base if Luis Urias — who has 12 homers in 83 video games this 12 months, after six in 124 profession video games heading into 2021 — slows down, or if he’s wanted at one other place. He might play first if Tellez doesn’t discover his batting stroke. The Brewers are a group that may contend for the NL’s spot within the World Collection, and including a flexible middle-of-the-order bat like Bryant is just about precisely what they want.
Why he matches: Look, that is an Oakland group that has the items to lastly make that long-awaited deep run into October. Nicely, many of the items. The A’s might use one other impression bat. Clearly, Bryant wouldn’t play third so long as Matt Chapman’s wholesome, however he’d be a right away improve at both nook outfield spot or the DH. And whereas a number of groups would view Bryant’s standing as a rental as a foul factor, the shortage of monetary commitments would possibly really be seen as a bonus for the A’s.
Why he matches: It is most likely not a shock that the Mets are within the prime spot right here, contemplating that they have been listed because the almost certainly potential vacation spot within the piece earlier this week. No contender wants an offensive kick within the pants greater than the Mets. Positive, perhaps the most important downside is that they only want their established guys to hit higher — hello, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor — however sooner or later a group with visions of profitable the World Collection title can’t simply sit round and wait. Including Bryant’s versatile bat to the lineup is type of a dream resolution. J.D. Davis was rolling earlier than touchdown on the IL; when he comes again, perhaps Bryant shifts to outfield? Bryant offers a group a number of choices.
Oh, and there’s this: Think about the Mets shedding a number of 1-0 or 2-1 video games in a playoff sequence — the 1-0 could be Jacob deGrom’s begin, in fact — after not making any form of transfer so as to add a bat earlier than the deadline? Mets followers wouldn’t be joyful (and neither would the gamers).