Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish Should Be Part Of Mets-Cubs Blockbuster
For some reason, despite making the postseason last year and in five of the last six seasons, the Chicago Cubs are going to tear it down. This couldn’t come at a better time for the Mets.
If you tick off the Mets needs this offseason, two which jump right off the page when looking at the Cubs is starter and third base.
At third is former NL MVP Kris Bryant. To be fair, when looking at Bryant, there are apparently three versions of him.
The first is the MVP level player we saw his first three seasons. Next came the All-Star level player he was the subsequent two. Finally, we have the disaster he was in 2020.
In 2020, he only hit .206/.293/.351. That drop off from a 132 OPS+ to a 73 was precipitous and completely unexpected. Looking at his Baseball Savant page, the biggest issue was a huge story in his barrel %.
If a team can fix that, they’ll get a star. At a minimum, Bryant remains a good third baseman by OAA making him seemingly worth a risk.
Notably, he’s more than just a third baseman playing all the defensive corner positions. In that vein, he’s really a right-handed Jeff McNeil with arguably more upside.
In addition to pursuing Bryant, the Mets should also show heavy interest in Yu Darvish.
While Trevor Bauer got all the attention and the Cy Young, Darvish arguably had the better season leading the league in FIP. Based on MLB Trade Rumor projections, Darvish will also cost at least $10 million less per season than Bauer.
That’s an important consideration when you realize that even with Bauer’s complete outlier career year against inferior competition, Darvish has had the better career with a 125 ERA+ and 3.43 FIP to Bauer’s 113 ERA+ and 3.85 FIP.
In Darvish, you’re not only getting the better pitcher, but the Mets would also have $10+ million free to add other players. That includes taking on Bryant or other players in a trade or signing a top end reliever like Brad Hand.
Bryant and Darvish are not the only Cubs who could help the Mets.
Since his MLB debut in 2016, Willson Contreras ranks third among MLB catchers in wRC+ and seventh in fWAR.
Ian Happ is a versatile player who plays a good center field and has a career 115 OPS+.
Accidental MVP vote getter Ryan Tepera struck out 13.5 per nine last year, and he has a 119 ERA+.
If the Mets really want to get something done with the Cubs, they could even entertain Jason Heyward. Yes, he has an awful contract, but he’s still a productive player, and he’s one who worked well with Mets Hitting Coach Chili Davis. He also remains a good defensive outfielder.
Of note with Heyward, the ability/willingness to eat that contract is a game changer. Remember, the Dodgers current run was jump started by their willingness to take on Carl Crawford‘s contract in that blockbuster where the Red Sox mostly looked to dump salaries.
In that trade, the Dodgers didn’t send much back to the Red Sox. Effectively speaking, the Dodgers reduced prospect and player cost by taking on the bad contracts. With Steve Cohen at the helm, the Mets are in that same exact situation.
Overall, the Mets have the financial ability and the need for players like Bryant and Darvish to make a blockbuster with the Cubs worth consideration. If you think about it, with one bold and daring trade, the Mets could fulfill nearly all of their offseason needs and transform this team from the last place team Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon left behind to a true World Series contender.