Kris Bryant to the Phillies makes too much sense

Jack Fritz
December 17, 2019 - 9:22 am

Kris Bryant is going to get traded from the Cubs this offseason because the Cubs feel like the core that brought them a championship in 2016 needs a shake-up and ownership wants to get under the luxury tax threshold. 

The Cubs, riddled with bad contracts, left the Winter Meetings last week believing that the former MVP will be dealt, according to sports insider Bob Nightengale. The general consensus around baseball is that the Cubs are going to move on from Bryant this offseason, and once his grievance hearing against Major League Baseball is resolved and we find out whether or not his free agency status is changed from two years to next year, his market should heat up significantly. 

There’s no logical reason why the Phillies shouldn’t be all-in on a Kris Bryant trade. 

Here’s why a trade to the Phillies makes all the sense in the world: He’s a high-impact bat, a former MVP, only 27 years old, his agent has become close friends with the owner and he’s best friends with your franchise player, Bryce Harper.

That last one is the most important one. 

When Bryce Harper signed here, and most importantly, signed the type of contract he did, the idea was to pair another star with him to grow with. J.T Realmuto is one of those stars, whom the Phillies are going to re-sign him before the start of next season, the other star is a guy like Kris Bryant. 

Bryant is the type of blue-chip offensive talent that you need to win World Series’ with. Couple that with the fact that him and Harper are long-time friends and the ingredients are there for a long-term relationship in Philadelphia.  

Listen, they rung in the New Year together!

Given how forward Bryce Harper was in pursuit of Mike Trout upon signing with the Phillies, one can only assume that he’s doing similar things behind the scenes to bring one of his best friends to Philadelphia. 

Klentak himself said the other day that Harper has reached out to them regarding who they are targeting in the offseason. Bryant seems like the next guy on Harper’s wish list. 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Harper in his one season in Philadelphia, the guy wants to win and by not adding Bryant this offseason, they would be doing their superstar a disservice. He signed here with the promise that John Middleton would do what it would take to win, and in acquiring Kris Bryant, the Phillies owner would be well on his way to fulfilling his promise. 

The second most important aspect as to why a Bryant deal to Philadelphia makes too much sense not to happen is the Scott Boras connection

Boras wants Bryce Harper to win in Philadelphia, and he certainly doesn’t want to see his star player miss the playoffs again. The Phillies have already helped Boras this offseason by helping drive up the Anthony Rendon market and they also gave Jake Arrieta significant money two offseasons ago when it didn’t look like any team was going to offer him much. Middleton and Boras have hit it off over the last two offseasons and now Boras would get to deliver another star to Philadelphia, to pair with his most high profile client and his buddy, John Middleton, would get to sell another star to the city that he promised to bring a trophy back to.

Finally, let’s talk about the player

Kris Bryant is a legit superstar, whose only blemish in his young career, was a shoulder injury that zapped his power in 2018. Even with a 2018 season in which he played in 102 games and hit .272, with a .374 OBP and a .834 OPS, Bryant’s career stash-line is .284 AVG/.385 OBP/.516 SLG/.901 OPS/32 HR/92 RBI. 

That’s superstar like production from the hot corner. 

The fact of the matter is that much like Bryce Harper’s market last offseason, there’s only a few suitors that can both pay the prospect cost and have the financial capability to pay Kris Bryant in a couple years when he becomes a free agent. The big market teams really aren’t there for Bryant. The Red Sox are shedding pay-roll, the Yankees just gave $324 million to a pitcher, the Dodgers never shell out big money these days, and seem more occupied with Francisco Lindor, the Nationals are in hot-pursuit of Josh Donaldson and the Astros are looking to cut payroll. The White Sox could make sense but they just handed out their biggest contract ever, which was $73 million to Yasmani Grandal. 

The teams that can afford to trade for and sign Bryant just aren’t there. The Braves certainly have the trade capital to get a deal done, but Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic pretty much ruled them out the other day, and the Rangers just committed significant payroll to Corey Kluber while not being willing to go 6 years in an Anthony Rendon deal a week before. 

That leaves the Philadelphia Phillies.

A team that has the trade capital, starting with Alec Bohm, the motivation to win now and the financial flexibility to sign Bryant long-term to pair with Bryce Harper and J.T Realmuto for a long time to come. 

With a core that is in the prime of its career, but also not good enough to truly compete for a World Series, the Phillies have to do whatever it takes to bring Bryant to Philadelphia. Top prospect, Alec Bohm, has been raved about by those in the Phillies front office, but in reality, you’re hoping Bohm can become the player that Bryant is. Parting with him would hurt, but when you have this team where it is right now, Bryant is the more logical fit and there aren’t the same concerns about his ability to stick at third base.  

The Phillies also have another thing going for them that the other Bryant suitors simply don’t. If the Phillies really wanted, they could take back one of the massive contracts that is hampering the Cubs in hopes of the Cubs lowering their asking price for Bryant. The three? Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward. Of the three, Lester would make the most sense. He’s not the Lester of old, but they’d only have to pay him for next season, whereas Heyward and Darvish’s contracts continue on into 2023.

Ultimately, Kris Bryant to the Phillies makes too much sense not to happen. They have his best friend, his agent and the owner have developed a friendship in recent offseasons, they have the desperation to win now, they have the impact prospect to get a deal done and they have the financial flexibility to pay the player, hopefully before he test the free agent waters. 

Now it’s on Klentak to get the deal done.