For four consecutive years, Kris Bryant was named the best baseball player at his particular level.
Part one: In this series, we look at possibly player targets the NY Mets could add this offseason
This started, in 2013, when Bryant was named the best collegiate baseball player in the country. This led the Chicago Cubs to draft Bryant with the second overall pick that year.
Bryant was named the too minor league player the following season. He went on to win the Rookie of the year (2015), followed by the National League’s Most Valuable player (2016).
The 2020 shorten season was not Bryant’s strongest (.206/.293/.351). We can chalk that up to the weird 2020, and to Bryant losing his service time grievance in the offseason. That kind of extreme disappointment and frustration is hard to overcome.
Bryant did play well in 2019. In 147 games, he hit 35 doubles, 3 homers, while slashing a steady .282/.382/.521
Is he available?
In 2015, the Chicago Cubs decided to hold Kris Bryant in the minor leagues to start the season. This despite having a strong spring training (he hit 9 home runs), and winning the Minor League Player of the Year award the previous season.
See related: The Mets decide to hold star prospect down
The Cubs promoted Bryant about two weeks into the season- a move that would allow the Cubs the keep Bryant under team control for an extra season.
This was a clear case of service time manipulation by the Cubs. Unfortunately, Bryant found the case hard to prove. The resulting ill-will means it’s highly unlikely Bryant resigns with the Cubs as he hits free agency after 2021.
This makes it a smart move by Chicago to shop Bryant. With the way the current Qualifying Offer works in MLB, the Cubs would get a second round pick for Bryant, once he does leave for free agency.
The Mets would have to match that to start any trade talks. Matt Allan- the Mets 3rd round pick in 2019, could be a match.
This kind of deal makes a ton of sense for both clubs. The Cubs get immediate young talent added to the club.
The Mets add the proven right handed bat of Bryant, and can still give him the QO, and use the resulting draft pick to replace Allan.
Allan is 19 years old, and has first round talent. But you have to question how the Covid-19 pandemic affects the ability of young pitchers to develop. The Mets could use that second round pick to draft a college pitcher- someone closer to being major league ready. And the Mets get Kris Bryant for the 2021 season.
How does he fit with the Mets?
The Mets need to improve their infield defense (still). The Mets also need to get better from the right side of the plate (still). Bryant checks both of those boxes.
Adding another right handed bat in the infield becomes even more important if the Mets move Andres Gimenez into the starting shortstop position.
Bryant also provides leadership and World Series leadership. Mets fans saw the importance of having that veteran leader, when the Mets added Todd Frazier late in the season. Bryant could bring similar leadership, while increase the talent on the Mets team.
Kris Bryant was Rookie of the Year, MPV and is a World Series champion. That kind of leadership and experience, combined with Bryant’s strong right handed bat, makes him a great fit for the New York Mets. A trade built around pitching prospect Matt Allan could make sense for both teams.
If new owner Steve Cohen wants to make a splash this offseason, a trade for Kris Bryant certainly would be grab headlines.