The last time we discussed the option of the Los Angeles Dodgers trading for Kris Bryant, he was a third baseman moonlighting in left field who was coming off injury-plagued and subpar swing-and-miss years.
Now? He’s among the NL MVP front-runners after more than a month of action, and he should be readily available at the deadline as a full-time outfield option.
No infield reshuffling required. Do we have your attention yet?
Bryant has ended up in the outfield in just over half the games he’s played in 2021, triple-slashing .308/.397/.650 in 32 contests. Between the loss of Cody Bellinger, the lack of outfield depth without Zach McKinstry taking regular reps, and the potential of giving Justin Turner a breather or two, adding Bryant could be extremely valuable, and likely won’t come at an escalating cost.
But how does Bryant perform away from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, something the Dodgers can’t provide him?
Glad you asked. .366/.438/.927 with six homers in 11 preposterous games.
The Dodgers could get one heck of a rental in a Kris Bryant trade.
Has the cost for Bryant risen thanks to his hot streak, which has reestablished him among the league’s elite sluggers? Honestly tough to say, but we’re guessing it hasn’t, considering the Cubs seemed to value him very highly already prior to his secondary breakout, and he’ll have only two months left under contract.
This was supposed to be the year the Dodgers were a fully-realized Death Star, though, and that simply hasn’t materialized. With Corey Seager and Chris Taylor set to hit free agency this offseason and every year on Justin Turner’s resumé stacking up against him, this might be the final season in which the Dodgers offense can match their pitching staff note-for-note.
Bryant isn’t the team’s foremost need (if a desired bullpen piece is available, sell the farm), but Bellinger’s timeline remains foggy, and the fewer reps given to Edwin Rios and AJ Pollock moving forward — as well as the less the team relies on a Matt Beaty hot streak — the better. This outfield depth chart isn’t ideal.
Why wait until midseason? Act now, and get Bryant in the lineup as much as possible before Bellinger’s return. The Cubs have been sitting and waiting for a chance to sell high on their star, who went as far as to fight them in a grievance to mix up his service time. That time has arrived.
The Dodgers never hold back from a chance to better themselves, and they have the prospect capital to absorb any trade, let alone a half-year rental with no Chicago extension in sight. Make the move.