Although the Red Sox didn’t contend in 2020, they at least considered a blockbuster acquisition over the summer. They and the Cubs discussed a trade centering on third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Those talks fizzled, so it’s unclear whether the two sides will revisit them this offseason.
Bryant has spent most of his career at third base, but as Gonzales notes, he’d be an outfielder in Boston. After all, the Red Sox already have Rafael Devers at the hot corner. They also have Alex Verdugo and Andrew Benintendi as corner outfield options, but the latter could head to center field in 2021 with Jackie Bradley Jr. currently on the free-agent market. That could leave room for a Bryant acquisition.
For Boston or any other team, Bryant would not be a long-term pickup unless he signs a contract extension. The 28-year-old is entering his last season of arbitration control, in which he’s projected to rake in $18.6MM. Considering how well the former NL MVP has performed for most of his career, that doesn’t look like an unreasonable sum. But the Cubs may be looking to part with Bryant after a pandemic-shortened year in which he endured uncharacteristic struggles. Bryant went through by far his least productive season, batting .206/.293/.351 (76 wRC+) with four home runs in 147 plate appearances, and now his Cubs tenure may be nearing an end.