The former 2016 NL MVP, Kris Bryant, has struggled in the 2020 season thus far. Rumors were circulating this offseason if it was time for the Cubs to move on from Bryant. Although no trade was completed, his trade value keeps diminishing due to his poor hitting in 2020.
What exactly is Bryant doing differently this year than in years prior? Could no spring training and a shorter training camp be the result of Bryant’s abysmal start for the Cubs? If the Cubs want any shot at making the World Series again, Bryant has to perform and get back to his MVP form.
Bryant’s Slow Start
Any baseball fan knows that where someone hits in the lineup affects their hitting entirely. This season Cubs manager, David Ross, decided to put Bryant in the leadoff spot. However, Bryant hasn’t been able to get on base as he is hitting a mere .177 with only six walks. His two home runs and four RBI is the weakest start for Bryant in his six-year career.
Last season in Bryant’s first 30 games, he was hitting .243 with three home runs and thirteen RBI. Bryant has never been a player who is hot right out of the gate. It usually takes him 50- 60 games to get going and actually start to hit the ball well. However, in a shortened 60 game season, Bryant doesn’t have that kind of time.
Although Bryant is not hitting at all, Chicago is still first in their division. With Bryant on the 10-Day IL for a finger injury, this can put Bryant back in his place. Hopefully for the Cubs and Bryant, his time off can help him get back to his all-star level.
The 29-year-old Indians pitcher could be an ideal trade piece if the Cubs want to move Bryant before his contract is up.
Recently, Clevinger and his teammates have been in a feud as a result of Clevinger and his teammate, Zach Pleasc’s actions in Chicago. Clevinger and Plesac broke hotel guidelines and snuck out of their hotel room. With this pandemic being so mainstream, Clevinger’s teammates became so frustrated, even going to extremes as to not wanting to play with them anymore.
Although Clevinger rejoined the team, if he has another falling out with his Indian’s teammates, look for the 6-foot-4 pitcher to be on the move upon the trade deadline.
Clevinger is currently 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Last season, Clevinger had his best year as a starting pitcher going 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA.
A lot of trade talks this offseason involved a swap of Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado. Could this still be in play? With the Rockies struggling as of late, 3-7 in their last 10, the former five-time All-Star might be moved.
Like Bryant, Arenado hasn’t lived up to his name this season. On the season, he is hitting .241. Although his seven home runs and 20 RBI thus far are reassuring, he looks lost at the plate at times.
With the Rockies possibly wanting to go in for a full rebuild, the 29-year-old third baseman would want to be traded. Although this trade seems like a long shot, Arenado could be dealt somewhere else by the trade deadline in 2020.
If you’re asking yourself who is Brendan McKay, get familiar with him. McKay can simply do it all. He was taken 4th overall in the 2017 draft. Not only can McKay pitch, but he is also classified as a DH. Having a pitcher who can hit and pitch is ideal to have in the NL as there is no DH, with the exception of this year.
Looking at Shohei Ohtani, he reminds me a lot of him. Ontani like McKay can pitch and be a nice bat in the lineup. With the Tampa Bay Rays in a win-now mentality, adding a piece like Kris Bryant could be crucial for them.
The Tampa Bay Rays sit atop the AL East up 2.5 games on the New York Yankees.
The Cubs don’t have many prospects to look forward to as they only have one in the top 100, McKay would be their second as he ranks 16th per MLB. This would help both clubs this season and in the future.
Is it time to give up on Bryant?
Yes, it might be time to move on from the former MVP, Kris Bryant.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Bryant might not be what everyone was hoping for. Although Bryant was spectacular his first three years in the league, he has slowed down a bit in his last three seasons.
If the Cubs do not move Bryant this year or next year, he will become a free agent after the 2021 season. With Bryant’s asking price seemingly being too high, the Cubs and Bryant might have to part ways in Chicago after the 2021 season.
Maybe I’m wrong and Bryant proves to everyone that he is still elite, but for now, Bryant isn’t a top-five third baseman anymore, and the Cubs should explore potential trade targets this season and next.
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