Mets could target two sluggers after the lockout: one of them is an old friend

kris bryant, yankees

After adding Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar, plus the pending return of Robinson Cano, one would think the New York Mets’ lineup could be set: after all, they also have Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, JD Davis, James McCann, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and star shortstop Francisco Lindor, among others.

The Mets’ biggest need is on the pitching staff. Yes, they added Max Scherzer on a three-year, $130 million deal, but they also lost Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Joey Lucchesi, the latter due to a long-term injury and the first two via free agency.

Yet, SI.com’s Pat Ragazzo reported that the Mets have their eye on two sluggers and that they remain potential fits to their 2022 plans. One of them is Kris Bryant, a player they have coveted for a long time, capable of playing both infield and outfield corners while boasting an above-average bat.

The Mets have their eyes on two competent bats

Bryant hit .265/.353/.481 with 25 home runs between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants last season, and is a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Series champion.

On the other hand, the Mets have also been linked to Michael Conforto, who started his career with the Mets in 2015 and reached free agency after last season. The right fielder wasn’t good in 2021 (.729 OPS) but has a career .824 OPS and has surpassed .900 two times, in 2017 and 2020.

Conforto is the kind of left-handed bat that most contenders should be coveting in free agency, but he didn’t sign before the lockout. Per Ragazzo, the Mets remain in play for his services.

“At least one industry source believes that the Mets realistically have 1-of-2 choices if they decide to add a significant hitter: bring in third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant or re-sign right fielder Michael Conforto since both players are solid defenders and neither is tied to a QO,” Ragazzo wrote.

Will the Mets break the bank for another slugger?

Yankees News: No Yankee games in Montreal, Robot umpires inch closer and much more

kris bryant, yankees

The New York Yankees won’t be playing in Montreal this season.

MLB and the Tampa Bay Rays have been working on splitting home games between Tampa and Montreal for years. MLB has formally rejected the idea, meaning the New York Yankees will not be playing any games in Montreal this season. The Tampa team has been suffering from a lack of revenues for years as they don’t have a large enough attendance at Tropicana Field. This rejection means the Rays are back to square one in their endeavors.

Thursday’s news that Major League Baseball’s executive council that put the no-no on the club’s zealous “sister city” timeshare did little to answer the question that’s dogged the Rays for decades: Many Tampa Bay fans that attend games at Tropicana Field sounded a sigh of relief, but did little to resolve the teams need to increase revenues. At the same time, it was devastating to baseball fans that love the game in Montreal and have been without a major league team since the exit of the Montreal Expos in 2004. The Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005.

Although the Tampa team will be playing all their games at the outmoded solid roof Tropicana Field this season, the MLB decision puts the time in limbo as to where they will be playing future games. Will it be a new Stadium, or will the Rays move out of Tampa altogether and search for a new city?

“I think partial seasons are going to be the future of sports,” says Sternberg, the Rays owner, “and probably would have served the fans of this community well. They do deserve a full-time team. But I believe the split-season concept is the future.

MLB: Robot umpires inch closer to major league games.

MLB’s idea to include calls and strikes by computer has been in the works as both players and owners have wanted to “improve the game.” In recent seasons the idea has been gaining support. Last season for the first time, robot umpires were used in some minor league parks last season. Now MLB has announced that it will expand this season to some AAA teams after favorable results.

It has been announced that MLB is recruiting employees to operate the system for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Charlotte Knights, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, Sugar Land Skeeters, and Tacoma Rainiers. No Yankee affiliates were in the grouping. One thing for sure is that this move indicates that universal use of the robot umpires is getting closer and closer for the major leagues.

Players and owners to have second meeting Monday.

With only one meeting between players and owners since the MLB lockout on December 1, it seems there is not much urgency to come to a new agreement to allow a 2022 season. Spring training is just a few weeks ago, and it appears that the sides are no closer to an agreement. Earlier this month, the only meeting had the owners presenting their proposal, and the players rejected it. Now this coming Monday, the MLBPA (Major League Players Association) will present their counter-proposal.

According to multiple reports, the MLBPA is preparing a proposal that will be submitted to MLB on Monday. Unlike the previous meeting, this bargaining session will take place in person.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman noted the players were disappointed that MLB’s most recent proposal did not cover several important issues to them. It ignored free agency, revenue sharing, and the Competitive Balance Tax—three pressing issues for the MLBPA. So, it would not come as any surprise for the players to focus on these areas in their counter. 

Who will join the YES Network, partially replacing David Cone?

Earlier in the month, it was announced that Michael Kay and David Cone would be on the YES Network less as they assume new jobs with ESPN. Kay will still be calling games, but Ryan Ruocco will share that duty. The big change is that we may not see David Cone doing his color commentary for weekend games as he will be manning ESPN’s weekend coverage.

David Cone will look to integrate analytics as part of ESPN’s new ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ team. David Cone is a popular analyst for Yankees games on the YES Network, and he still will be on that job in 2022. But Yankees fans will have to share him with a national audience on ESPN. With the loss of Cone for some games, the retirement of Ken Singleton from the broadcast booth, and Buck Showalter taking the Mets job, YES will need more staff. The YES Network will have some new faces, some say it will be CC Sabathia, while others think it will be ex-Mets manager Carlos Beltran. The addition of Betran would be controversial, although a delight for the Puerto Rican fans, others aren’t in favor due to his involvement in the 2017 Astros cheating scandal. The YES Network has not announced replacements.

Would the Yankees make a move for Kris Bryant?

One of the lingering subjects to be handled by the Yankees when and if a new CBA can be reached is what to do at first base. The Yankees held onto Luke Voit, but he is not the best option considering other options. There has been discussion about resigning Anthony Rizzo, who became a free agent at the end of the season or even going after Oakland’s Matt Olson. Recently another name has come up, Kris Bryant.

Although several remaining free agents on the market are capable of filling the Yankees’ positional needs at first base, the Yankees could go after free agent Kris Bryant. That move would likely put DJ LeMahieu in the permanent position at first base with Geyber Torres at second and Bryant and Gio Urshela sharing duties at the hot corner. In 2021 Bryant, while playing for both the Cubs and Giants last season, Bryant was named to the fourth All-Star game of his career, slugged 25 home runs, drove in 73 RBIs, and produced a .835 OPS in 144 games. Bryant also won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award and 2016 NL MVP Award while helping the Cubs capture their first World Series title in 108 years. If this solves a problem for the Yankees, it also means that Luke Voit would be traded away for some other Yankee addition.

Yankees Rumors: Cashman could pursue stud utility man Kris Bryant in free agency 2.0

kris bryant, yankees

After letting Tyler Wade and Brett Gardner go this off-season, the New York Yankees need a new utilityman to fill the void. While they could go with someone cheaper and more cost-efficient, it is possible they view kris Bryant as a potential solution at multiple positions, considering his ability to play third base and in the outfield.

The Yankees could get involved in the Kris Bryant sweepstakes:

Via MLB Trade Rumors:

The Yanks have been a sleeping giant so far in this offseason, seemingly pushing major moves until after they could get a look at the new CBA. DJ LeMahieu is the best fit for third base duties at the moment, though he could also defer to Bryant and move over to first base, especially if the club pulls the trigger on a Luke Voit trade. Like the Blue Jays and Red Sox, the Yankees were also connected to Seiya Suzuki, suggesting they could also find a way to work Bryant into the outfield mix, perhaps in combination with a Joey Gallo trade.

Bryant is an intriguing player at 30 years old, hitting .265 during 2021 with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants. He also tallied 25 homers, 73 RBIs, and a 23% strikeout rate. While his strikeouts are a bit concerning for a team like the Yankees, who are trying to lower that number, his double-digit home run potential is undoubtedly enticing.

What makes Bryant truly valuable is his ability to play multiple defensive positions, spending time in every outfield spot last season and 55 games at third base and 12 at first base.

Bryant hosts a .950 fielding percentage at third base over 678 games, representing 5,541.2 innings. While that number doesn’t exactly scream efficiency, he only hosts a -4 defense of runs saved about the average, which isn’t an awful number. He is a slightly below-average defender at the hot corner, so if the Yankees wanted to fill that spot, they could look to Bryant as a solution.

Alternatively, he can simply serve as an incredibly valuable plug-and-play utility man. With the vast number of injuries, the Yankees accrue every season, having a player like Bryant would likely be the difference between winning and losing games considering who they had at their disposal last year.

However, Bryant is projected to earn upward of $23 million per season, which might be a bit too pricey for Brian Cashman’s checkbook, considering he needs to find a legit stopgap shortstop and starting pitcher.

Yankees could pursue perfect utility man for the outfield in free agency

kris bryant, yankees

The New York Yankees desperately need a new utility man after letting Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor walk this offseason without much resistance.

General manager Brian Cashman must have a plan in mind to replace both players, who valiantly stepped in and supplemented injuries this past season in both the outfield and infield. Wade featured in 103 games, earning a .268 average with five RBIs and 17 stolen bases, a career-high.

Odor, on the other hand, played in 102 games, posting a .202 average with 15 homers and 39 RBIs. The Yankees actually received decent slugging production out of Odor, but his lack of contact-hitting and near 30% strikeout rate is simply unsustainable in a lineup that features too many big bats.

However, if the Yankees are looking for a player who can contribute at multiple positions defensively and offers stellar offensive play, Kris Bryant of the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs could fit the bill.

What would Bryant offer the Yankees?

Bryant played for both Chicago and San Francisco this past season at 29-years-old, earning an All-Star appearance, his fourth in seven years. He posted a combined .265 average with 25 homers, 73 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases over 144 games.

The veteran utility man has a reliable health history, making him an even more attractive prospect for Cashman. He signed a one-year, $19.5 million deal this past off-season, and after posting another productive campaign, he could be in line for a similar contract, if not a multi-year deal.

Bryant has experience playing nearly every position in the infield and outfield. This past year, he spent 10 or more games in center field, right field, left field, third base, and first base. With that type of utility, the Yankees would be ecstatic about his services. He could fill in for most injured players, and God knows the Yankees will be dealing with it next season as they do every year.

At third base, Kris experienced his most struggles, posting a. 946 fielding percentage with six errors and a -2 defensive runs saved above average. He had more success in the outfield, but he’s capable of moving around the infield at both corners.

Depending on how much Cashman is willing to spend on a utility man, Bryant would be a fantastic solution who can play on an everyday basis if need be. Given Brett Gardner was forced into a starting role last year, having a high-end backup is always a necessity.

The Mets expressed interest in infielder Kris Bryant before lockout

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

Despite having acquired Eduardo Escobar and the expectation of having Robinson Cano back for the 2022 campaign, the New York Mets reportedly expressed interest in third baseman Kris Bryant before MLB owners decided to implement a lockout.

Per the terms of the lockout, there will be no free agent signings, trades, and players won’t be able to use team facilities, not even to rehab injuries. Everything is frozen until MLB and the players’ association can hammer out a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) deal.

Besides the Mets, the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, and even the Colorado Rockies were expressing interest in the former Rookie of the Year and MVP of the National League. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Houston Astros, also contacted Bryant’s agents.

Bryant will have to wait until the lockout is over to sign with a team, which he is reportedly comfortable with.

The Mets are “probably set” on the position players side, but…

During Max Scherzer’s introductory press conference, Mets GM Billy Eppler mentioned the possibility of adding another position player during this offseason, but said the organization is “being mindful” of not harming its long-term outlook.

“We do feel pretty good about this position player group, but want to remain opportunistic as we navigate the rest of the winter and look for areas that we can improve the club,” Eppler said.

Recently, Andy Martino of SNY had reported the Mets were “probably set on the position player side” after adding outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha, in addition to Escobar.

However, a trade involving infielder Jeff McNeil (after the lockout) could change things, and the Mets could theoretically fit Bryant under that scenario.

For now, everything will have to be put on hold until owners and players can alleviate their issues and agree to a new CBA deal, which doesn’t seem it will be soon.

Mets and Cubs reportedly engaged in discussions about Kris Bryant

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

The New York Mets refuse to call it an offseason after making several additions to their 2021 roster. They brought several crucial free agents – relievers Trevor May and Aaron Loup, catcher James McCann, infielder Jonathan Villar, and outfielder Albert Almora – and were active in the trade market, one that netted them shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco.

Yet, the New York Mets know that this is their shot. This is their moment, as they have an amazing offensive core and have managed to put together an impressive rotation, led by Jacob deGrom and with Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, Noah Syndergaard, and Joey Lucchesi on it.

Now, the Mets are, according to SNY’s Andy Martino, engaged in discussions with the Chicago Cubs about a potential Kris Bryant trade.

The two organizations have already discussed Bryant during the offseason, but talks hit a halt and the clubs spent several weeks without talking about the star third baseman/outfielder.

The Mets have renewed interest in the slugger

NBC Edge explains that there is, apparently, “renewed interest in working out some sort of swap. Of note here is that Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted earlier this week that the Mets and free agent third baseman Justin Turner were “not matching up on years/dollars.” Bryant is due $19.5 million in 2021, his final year under team control, but Chicago would probably eat some of that money if it were to net them a better return package.”

The Mets don’t have a top-notch farm system, but they do have some pieces that may interest the Cubs. The two teams have been reportedly discussing catcher Francisco Alvarez, and if Bryant lands in Queens, JD Davis would become expendable and sounds like a logical candidate to be included in the return package.

Bryant slumped in 2020, hitting .206/.293/.351 with a .285 and a paltry 77 wRC+, but he suffered some health issues. He is a prime rebound candidate if he is healthy. For his career, he has hit .280/.380/.508 with a 137 wRC+.

New York Mets: What is Next After Bauer Signed With The Dodgers?

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

The New York Mets lucked out when Trevor Bauer decided to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They did not overpay for a similar version of Carlos Carrasco and gave them more options before spring training. The Mets roster is already the best in the NL East, but what else could they do to improve it?

Option #1: Rich Hill, Jake Arrieta, or any other starting pitching depth

Bauer would have given the Mets a dream rotation, but the Mets did not need him to win a World Series. The current rotation gives the Mets a top-5 group in baseball, and quality depth would make it better. Rich Hill would be the ideal backup plan if Joey Lucchesi does not bounce back or David Peterson has a sophomore slump. Even at the age of 41, Hill would compete with Lucchesi for the fifth starter spot.

Option #2: Jackie Bradley Jr.

The absence of a designated hitter in the National League leaves the Mets with a tough decision in their outfield. Signing Jackie Bradley Jr. gives the Mets four starting outfielders for three positions. The best move would be to give Bradley 2-3 years to have him on the roster once the DH gets to the NL.

Bradley would serve as the fourth outfielder for the first year but start in center field in 2022. The center field for the next two offseasons is very thin. This deal would be done with an eye for the future, but it will be tough to get Bradley to agree on.

Option #3: Kris Bryant and/or Jackie Bradley Jr.

This option requires the most parts to make it happen. Kris Bryant is heading into the last year of his deal with the Chicago Cubs, who are looking to shed payroll. Coming off a down year and currently on the last year of his deal allows the Mets to buy low on Bryant as they did with Francisco Lindor.

Trading J.D. Davis, Jeurys Familia, and a mid-level prospect like Carlos Cortes or Michel Otanez might be enough to get the deal done.  The riskier but more likely move would trade Davis, Nimmo, and a prospect outside the Mets top 30. It would open up two positions for each player, free up money for the Cubs, and give the Mets a dynamic lineup.

The potential lineup of Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, Kris Bryant, Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, James McCann, Jackie Bradley Jr., and the pitcher is very enticing. It gives them the ideal righty/lefty combination they have been searching for.

The trade is a huge ask but a viable option. Acquiring Sonny Gray and Eugenio Suarez would require prospects the Mets cannot afford to trade. The ideal 2021 situation with Bryant equals .275/35/110, a World Series ring, and Bryant receiving a lucrative contract during free agency.

 

Should the New York Yankees Acquire Kris Bryant?

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

The off-season is finally coming to an end, and with baseball back there’s a lot to look forward to in 2020. With the emergence of young teams after a wild offseason, there’s certainly a lot of competition in the league. One of those teams that are presumed to be competing are the Chicago Cubs, who have been in some trade talks. After winning a case against their former MVP winning Kris Bryant that allows them to retain an extra year of control, it seems as if their relationship has been severely damaged. This has led to the Cubs talking to other teams about a deal involving their star third baseman. One of those teams involved? The New York Yankees, but would it make sense for them to land the star 3B?

New York Yankees’ 3B Situation

The New York Yankees are in a peculiar spot at 3B. They have youngster Miguel Andujar and breakout star Giovanni Urshela as their main 3B options. Urshela is 28 and Andujar is going to be 25 in March. These two both have good cases as to why they should start at 3B, but both. raise huge question marks. Urshela has only had one good season and Andujar’s expected stats show he may not be as good as he’s shown alongside his brutal defense. With 3B not being a weak point but not being a strong point either, should the Yankees bring in the star slugger?

Why They Should Trade For Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant is a talent that is rarely seen in the MLB, a 28 year old who’s a 3-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year winner, and MVP winner. His career totals of a .901 OPS, 139 wRC+, .383 wOBA, and 27.8 fWAR in 5 seasons are really good. He’s a certified superstar, and a top 10 3B in baseball. His defense is mediocre, with -1 DRS at 3B, but it’s better than Urshela’s career -4 DRS at 3B. He also runs a 28.2 ft/sec speed, which is good for the 78th percentile. Andujar is close in speed but still slightly slower and Urshela isn’t particularly fast. The New York Yankees would be upgrading a ton at 3B, and would have an answer at 3B who’s the total package.

Why They Shouldn’t Trade For Kris Bryant

The price for such a talent isn’t cheap, and not even just in the monetary aspect. The Chicago Cubs are going to ask for a fortune for the 3B, as they won’t trade a superstar for scraps. They’re looking for players who are either impact-now or soon to be MLB ready prospects. This isn’t a matter of sending a few prospects in A ball, this is going to be trading your prized prospects. Then there’s Bryant’s free agency, which is coming in 2 years. He’s going to ask for a contract most likely of the same value if not greater than Anthony Rendon. He isn’t going to be cheap to resign, and the Yankees would be adding another $30+ million dollar deal to their payroll, with their core pieces having their free agency impending too. This deal could cripple the New York Yankees financially, and is something that is definitely going to be heavily considered.

Trying To Make a Deal?

The deal for Kris Bryant wouldn’t be a small one, you’d have to send over some premium prospects in order to land Bryant. If the New York Yankees were to do it, the deal would look a lot like this:

New York Yankees Receive:

3B/OF Kris Bryant

Chicago Cubs Receive:

3B/1B/OF Miguel Andujar
OF Clint Frazier
OF Estevan Florial
RHP Deivi Garcia
RHP Michael King

This type of deal would send shockwaves across the MLB and would deplete the Yankees farm system quite a bit.

Would you make this deal if you were either team or is this a highway robbery?

New York Yankees ghost-linked to Kris Bryant in blockbuster trade

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

The midst of offseason baseball is littered with falsified trade rumors and ideas, and the latest is a New York Yankees/Cubs trade for star third-baseman, Kris Bryant.

If GM Brian Cashman has any ounce of monetary respect left, he will walk into the sunset with his $324 million-dollar pitcher and enjoy the 2020 season fro his box-seat. Manager Aaron Boone clawed his way to a 103-win season on the backs of reserve options like Gio Urshela, Brett Gardner, and Cameron Maybin. Adding a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar to the lineup should provide ample offensive production for the Bombers in the season ahead.

However, Bryant is a special player, offering 31 homers and a .282 batting average in 2019. While Urshela hit .314 with 21 homers in his best season to date, he’s a one-year wonder up this point. Boone is confident he can remain the starting option, but there’s no guarantee he can replicate that type of production.

Alternatively, they have Andujar, who’s an offensive threat but lacks the defensive acumen to hold down the fort on the hot corner.

As per NJ.com, the New York Yankees could be interested in Bryant for several reasons:

-The Yankees don’t have a true, no-doubt-about-it long-term answer at third base. That, in part, is why a possible deal for Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado seems so appealing.

-The 2020 season is all about winning it all, not simply sustainability.

Bryant is an upgrade over Gio Urshela at third base. Bryant’s addition would allow Urshela to thrive in a utility bench role. Maybe as part of the package the Cubs take Miguel Andujar and hope he’s more 2018 than 2019. Regardless, the Yankees haven’t done much aside from the monster Gerrit Cole deal and maybe they don’t need to do more, but it never hurts to pile on. There’s a fit here. Why not make it a full go “eff you” offseason, Mr. Cashman?

While Bryant has struggled defensively a bit over the last two seasons, he’s 28-years-old and holds plenty of potential moving forward. The Yankees would be pushing well-beyond the third-tier of the luxury tax threshold, but it would make the probability of winning the World Series in 2020 that much higher.

Should the New York Mets Go for Kris Bryant?

The New York Mets are in on the sweepstakes for Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Let’s face it, the New York Mets AND the rest of baseball is in on the Kris Bryant sweepstakes. But should the Mets pull the trigger on a trade for the former World Series champion and former NL MVP?

Space is Already Tight on the Roster

Jed Lowrie is coming back from injury. Then you got JD Davis and Jeff McNeil also duking it out for the spot at third base. Lowrie is expected to get enough reps in Spring Training to be the starting third baseman next year, meaning you have to figure out where to find playing time for McNeil and Davis, both offensive forces in the lineup last season. Davis and McNeil will undoubtedly find time at other positions, as they did last season as well. But will you trade Bryant just to have him, platoon, with the older Lowrie?

The Mets Won’t Make the Trade Based on Marte Trade

The Cubs will make offers similar to what the Pirates asked for Marte. Bryant has better numbers and a better future than Marte does. Marte is on the wrong side of 30, and Bryant is just entering his prime as a player. Trading away key players like McNeil and Davis for Bryant, on top of prospects, just to make room for Bryant, is a terrible gamble for the Mets to make. Bryant is the third baseman by trade, who the Cubs have given starts to in the outfield. The only sensible thing for the Mets to do would be to start the man at third. Should injury befall the Mets at places McNeil and Davis could fill in, and they trade both for Bryant, then the Mets have shot themselves in the foot.

I, honestly, would pass on Bryant for now until next season. And I think Van Wagenen will do the same as well.