Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds tried to acquire Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs last week at the trade deadline, but couldn’t get the deal done because the Reds needed the Cubs to either pay his entire remaining salary or take back a contract(s) that made the deal net neutral with regards to money.
There’s a lot of questions here that are left unanswered. First is that how would the team use Kris Bryant if he were acquired? Assuming for a second that the team traded a prospect instead of a big leaguer and the Cubs covered his salary, that would mean that center or third base would be the most likely of positions Bryant would play. But third base is also where Eugenio Suárez plays, and while half of you reading this are ready to pull your hair out and throw your phone on the ground, there are no signs at all that the Reds are going to bench him. Third base is also where Mike Moustakas plays, and he’s currently in Triple-A rehabbing his way back from his heel injury (and had a 111 MPH exit-velo double over the weekend).
The other option that seems potentially doable is centerfield. While Bryant isn’t a guy that’s played there every day, and he’s not your typical centerfielder, he can cover you there if asked. The problem there is that, well, he’s not truly a centerfielder, and that’s also where Nick Senzel plays. He, like Moustakas, is in Triple-A Louisville rehabbing right now.
Acquiring better players is always the right move. Kris Bryant 100% would have made the Cincinnati Reds a better team. His ability to play multiple spots would really help, too. Even if it would have created a bit of a weird log-jam at a few positions and made the lineup card look different nearly every day. The move didn’t happen because either the Reds were too cheap, the Cubs were too cheap, or both of them were too cheap to pay Kris Bryant.
Cincinnati’s going to be getting depth back, and likely soon. It’s going to be coming on the position and pitcher side. Lucas Sims, Michael Feliz, Alex Blandino, Mike Moustakas, and Nick Senzel are all currently out on rehab assignments. Tejay Antone is throwing bullpen sessions and shouldn’t be that far away from heading out on a rehab assignment of his own.
Still, it’s tough to look at the fact that the Giants sent two prospects who wouldn’t rank in the Reds top 10 to acquire Kris Bryant because they were willing to pay him roughly $7M the rest of the season. Cincinnati’s lineup could have greatly improved by adding Bryant to it, and when you are chasing multiple teams to try and get into the playoffs, every little improvement counts. And that improvement wouldn’t have been little.