What’s the price?
Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago has listed the Atlanta Braves as a potential trade partner with the Cubs for Kris Bryant. This is significant because he views Ender Inciarte as a viable piece to get the deal done. The Cubs are in need of a defensive-oriented centerfielder.
Hey, we have one of those! Kevin Kiermeiar is set to earn $10,166,667 in 2020. He is one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game and as a bonus, he packs some power and speed at the plate. If the Cubs are willing to take on his $10 million (which isn’t too far off of Inciarte’s $7.7 million) the Rays have a deeper pool of prospects to dip into than anyone in the League.
The Rays give up Kevin Kiermeier and a couple of prospects not named Wander Franco and we get Kris Bryant.
With the Cubs taking on Kiermeiar’s contract in this scenario, the Rays are only adding about $8.4 million to the payroll in this scenario. Stu said this WELL WITHIN his range, as long as the deal is right.
The market value for a player like Kris Bryant is $30-36MM/year right now.
The top-seven batters are making an AAV of $31.3 million. His $18.5 million salary puts him at just over half of what the top guys make but with similar production. Kris Bryant is the Charlie Morton we’ve been looking for.
He would become the highest-paid player on the team by $3.5 million. Bryant is getting paid about half of what he’s actually worth. Stu admitted they have the budget for this sort of a move.
Adding a bat like Bryant’s to the middle of the lineup addresses the need for an impact bat from the right side and it makes Mike Zunino‘s low-average, high-power approach more of a bonus than a liability.
At the cost of a handful of prospects and a few extra bucks (millions) in the budget, the Rays could take a serious stab at a World Series in 2020 by adding Kris Bryant. If his price gets too high in arbitration next year the Rays can always trade him away and go in search of the next great value.
If the front office thinks he’s enough to put the Rays over the top, would he be worth the prospects we’d have to send to Chicago? I guess that’s the $8.5 million question.
Would Bryant be a good fit in Tampa in 2020? Would he be enough to get them to the World Series? Is he worth giving up prospects and Kiermaier? Let us know in the comments below.