The New York Mets sit atop the NL East and MLB trade rumors are swirling about what the top team in the NL East will do by the July 30 deadline. After making one blockbuster deal this offseason, another could be in the cards.
New York has overcome a plethora of injuries this season, losing starting pitchers and key pieces of their batting order for long stretches. The outfield is getting healthy and J.D. Davis is returning, but the Mets’ front office is looking for a bigger bat to plug into the heart of the lineup.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Mets are among several clubs interested in a Kris Bryant trade and one of several organizations particularly fond of his versatility.
Bryant, who was playing at an MVP-caliber level early in the 2021 season, is firmly on the trade block. The Chicago Cubs are descending rapidly down the MLB standings and recognizing Bryant will walk in free agency this winter, the star third baseman is expected to be dealt.
In a contract year, Bryant has demonstrated his versatility. He has started 10 games at first base, 24 at third base, 14 in left field, 10 in center field and 21 in right field.
It’s understandable why there is so much interest in Bryant, given he’s a four-time All-Star and his bat fits nicely in any lineup. But a potential trade for the right-handed slugger might look different than many expect.
How the New York Mets can acquire Kris Bryant
The Cubs were in a difficult situation this offseason. After trading Yu Darvish, a financially motivated decision, the club might have been wise to puts its star third baseman on the trade block. Any team acquiring him would get a full season of production, increasing his potential value.
But Bryant was awful during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Across 34 games, he posted a .206/.293/.351 slash line, hitting just four home runs and striking out in 27.2% of his plate appearances. Bryant’s value was low, so Chicago decided to keep him with the hope he would turn things around.
- Kris Bryant stats (April 1 – May 31): 324/.406/.611 slash line, 12 home runs, a 172 wRC+, 22.2% K rate
- Kris Bryant stats (June 1 – July 10): .179/.256/.311 slash line, 4 home runs, 59 wRC+, 26.5% K rate
The Cubs couldn’t trade Bryant during his hot stretch, the team was atop the NL Central. When this team slid, finally justifying ownership’s desire to be a seller, Bryant’s production cratered.
Bryant’s woes at the plate aren’t the only factor working against the Cubs. He’s only under contract for the remainder of the 2021 season and teams aren’t going to sacrifice a top prospect with years of roster control for a few months of Bryant.
All of that helps the New York Mets. With one of the few owners who are willing to spend more money in pursuit of a championship, the Mets can absorb the remainder of Bryant’s salary and offer a trade package that can interest Chicago.
- Chicago Cubs trade: Kris Bryant
- New York Mets trade: RHP J.T. Ginn (NYM’s No. 6 prospect), SS Shervyen Newton (NYM’s No. 14 prospect)
Whether the Mets want to use Bryant at third base or in the corner outfield, he’ll be comfortable at any position. He’s also a better hitter than his recent stats indicate and could provide a nice spark for a batting order that is starting to heat up this summer.
One thing is for certain, the Mets will be active at the MLB trade deadline with clear needs in the starting rotation and lineup.