The Rundown: Bryant Rumors Continue, Happ Talks Coming Season, Cleveland Finally Trades Lindor, Mets Turn Attention to Free Agent Market

As much as the Cubs may want to save the $20 million or so third baseman Kris Bryant will earn this season, it’s tough to believe they are actively trying to trade the former MVP and Rookie of the Year. Earlier this week speculation centered on a possible trade to the Dodgers, and it seems like every team in the NL East has been connected to Bryant at one time or another.

With that in mind, the news that the Cubs and Mets have reportedly talked about a potential trade involving the impending free agent is not surprising. In fact, when New York completed a trade with Cleveland for Francisco Lindor, I’d bet most thought the Mets front office would immediately pivot to pursuing Bryant. I still have difficulty digesting those rumors, if only because Jed Hoyer would be forced to sell extremely low. The Yu Darvish trade complicates things a little though.

Like Lindor, Bryant has been the subject of multiple trade rumors this winter and last as he now enters his final year under team control. But wouldn’t the Mets be better off just trying to sign Bryant once he hits free agency? He’s probably not the extension candidate Lindor may be. Then again, Steve Cohen, who recently purchased the Metropolitans, is on a mission to connect with the team’s fanbase and money is reportedly no object.

If the Cubs were to move Bryant, they’d likely have to eat some of his salary or accept an offset of sorts, and as far as minor league players are concerned, Hoyer would be fishing among the chum of the Mets system. Even worse, New York’s farm system is nothing worth fantasizing about, at least in the short term, though there are a number of young, high-ceiling players among their top 30 prospects. That would seem to bode well for a potential match, and the Cubs’ new president of baseball operations will have to address Bryant’s status sooner or later.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Cubs seem to be teetering on the precipice of a rebuild rather than some type of restructuring that allows them to remain competitive. I can only judge Hoyer on what he has accomplished since taking the reins from Theo Epstein, but if I had access to his first-year syllabus, it probably emphasizes reducing payroll and acquiring long term assets over competing with the Cardinals and Brewers in 2021.

Were the latter to happen, it would simply be an indication of interdivisional apathy and pure luck. It would also require a huge turnaround by the offense to support what is, at least today, a much weaker starting rotation. Trading from their core of impending free agents is likely to sadden many fans, but would certainly indicate that Hoyer refuses to take the half measures that might hamper Chicago’s long-term future.

Cubs News & Notes

Apropos of Nothing

Seven of the top 10 telecasts of 2020 were NFL games, including the top five, and, in what should be a big concern for Major League Baseball, only Game 6 of the World Series (No. 62 overall) registered enough viewers to make the top 100. It makes you wonder why the Cubs thought Marquee would immediately (or even eventually) deliver wheelbarrows full of cash for roster additions.

Just Do It

Please light a candle, say a prayer, and think positive thoughts for our brother and good friend Scott “Twin31s” Crandall this weekend. Thank you.

Odds & Sods

When I look into my Cubs’ crystal ball, what do I see? Yes, Cleveland is a much smaller market, but it seems that Chicago’s front office is treading in similar financial waters this year. It’s at least worth wondering if the Cubs will be able to extend any of their core players, and what Hoyer might do if they cannot.

Friday Stove

There’s a solid chance that no players will garner enough votes from the BBWAA to gain entry into the Hall of Fame.

When many of us were younger, teams would lock up their long term stars so that they could play their entire careers with the same organization. Escalating salaries and the quest for profitability prevent that type of synergy, making like allegiances incredibly difficult for fans.

Cleveland fans are justifiably unhappy that the Spiders traded Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, and think the return could have been much better. Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, and prospects Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene are headed to Cleveland.

Yesterday’s blockbuster trade might not be enough to jumpstart a woefully slow hot stove season.

The Mets will likely turn their attention toward signing one of the top free agents, particularly outfielder George Springer.

For Cleveland, the rebuild is obviously in full swing. They still have Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, though.

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole is involved in a lawsuit that has become somewhat of a sticky situation for the ace.

Getting a game day ticket to see your favorite team in 2021 may be a difficult proposition, at least until COVID-19 capacity restrictions are lifted.

Extra Innings

If you don’t understand that there is a generational aspect to the game of baseball, this picture of Carlton Fisk with Carl Yastrzemski should enlighten you. During his rookie year, Yaz played against Mickey Mantle, who once played with Joe DiMaggio. Joe D was a rookie in 1936 and played his first four seasons with a teammate named Lou Gehrig. Of course, everybody knows that Gehrig once played with Harvey Hendrick, who eventually played for the Cubs, completing today’s six degrees of separation.

They Said It

  • “Prospects, young players are so valuable these days to front offices all over the place. That’s currency in baseball right now. You just have to trust the process long term and understand that whether these guys end up wearing Cubs uniforms down the road or something else that it’s all part of a bigger plan. I still think the Cubs are going to be a very competitive team this year. I think we have a lot of pieces. It’s just our job as players to prepare as best we can to do our job on the field.” – Ian Happ

Friday Walk Up Song

Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/All Shook Up by Elvis Aaron Presley – The King of Rock was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on this day in 1935.

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