Red Sox Rumors: Could Boston trade for Kris Bryant this winter?

Sep 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams (not pictured) during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams (not pictured) during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Could the Red Sox be working out a Kris Bryant trade with the Cubs?

Yesterday afternoon it was reported by MLB Trade Rumors via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that the Red Sox and Cubs had discussions over the summer about Kris Bryant heading to Boston. This is a bit of interesting news as the veteran is primarily a third baseman and the team already has one of those, Rafael Devers, ever heard of him? If discussions already occurred then there’s a strong chance that they could pick back up during the offseason, so what would that look like?

First, let’s look at things from Boston’s point of view since they’re the ones bringing in the superstar. Where in the hell would they put him if they brought him in? As I said, his dominant position is at third but we run into the issue of Raffy being the stalwart and future at the hot corner.

There’s an easy solution to that though, move Devers over to first. That may seem odd to some, but Rafael’s defense at third will always be a liability for the Red Sox, and moving him to first could severely cut down on his errors.

However, this would create a new issue as Bobby Dalbec has all but staked his claim to first base with his impressive callup in 2020. It’d be hard to take away his role with the team after what he did this past season, so that means the two corners of the infield aren’t a part of this equation. We have another route we can head down and it’s one that both Gonzales and MLBTR also proposed, put Bryant in the outfield.

As of now, the Red Sox have just Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo in the outfield with Mookie Betts in Los Angeles and Jackie Bradley Jr. now a free agent. They toyed around with having Michael Chavis play in the outfield but it isn’t his strong suit and at most he should be a platoon player in that regard.

So adding Bryant would be a massive improvement from the current situation and would give Alex Cora another veteran to fill out his outfield.

Boston does have another option to fill the void left by JBJ in Jarren Duran and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some playing time with the big club this summer. Sox Prospects has him ranked 4th overall and was most recently in Double-A Portland.

He’s got the potential and pop off the bat to skip Triple-A and jump to the bigs, and it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen this happen either. He’s primarily a centerfielder and could slot right into the gap in the outfield.

Now, that may be asking a lot of Duran and the safer play could still be to go with Bryant, which I feel that it is. Hell, Chaim Bloom could even bundle Duran into the deal the brings Bryant to Boston along with some other pieces to make it worthwhile for Chicago.

Jed Hoyer was recently named the President of Baseball Ops and is taking over for Theo Epstein. Both have ties to the Red Sox and I wouldn’t be surprised if that bridge of communication is still strong come trade talks.

Say the Red Sox do the trade for Bryant and the outfield is where Cora decides he’d be best suited, which of the three spots should he fall into? Over the years he’s spent more time in left field but I can’t pull Benny from his post even with how poor he performed in 2020.

There haven’t been many that have patroled the Green Monster better than Benintendi has during his career. I have no doubt that Bryant could learn everything there is to know about the Monster, but it just makes more sense to keep Benny there.

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Bryant’s other main outfield position has been in rightfield which I think is the perfect spot for him. Verdugo spent most of his time with the Dodgers in center-field and I think that’s where he could best be used by the Red Sox as well. His speed and big-play ability would be a perfect replacement for JBJ. Putting Bryant in right-field would nearly be as natural of a spot as left would be and with the short wall in the corner, I think he could adapt quickly.

I think trading for Bryant would be a smart move by Chaim Bloom and could be a win on multiple fronts. It would allow him to bring in a veteran to replace a veteran while also not breaking his newly reset budget. MLBTR does point out that he’s likely to make a whopping $18.6MM in 2021 via arbitration but that would still come in under what George Springer would cost, though he doesn’t have the offensive numbers that the former Astro does.

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If talks do resume this winter I’ll be very interested to see who Chaim Bloom offers in return for Bryant. The Cubs are looking to shed payroll much like the Red Sox did a year ago, so it’ll likely be prospect heavy to keep the money down and control high. I think adding Bryant would be good for Boston as it adds another championship-caliber player to a team that is in a bit of shambles at the moment. For Bryant, a change of scenery could do him wonders and give his career a shot in the arm for however long he has left on the field.

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