Boston Red Sox: Looking to trade for Kris Bryant?

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 19: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubsbats against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field on July 19, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 19: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubsbats against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field on July 19, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Will the former NL MVP end up with the rebuilding Boston Red Sox next season?

A Kris Bryant trade to the Boston Red Sox should not come as earth-shattering news to baseball fans. Last summer, sources confirmed discussions between the Chicago Cubs and Red Sox centered around Bryant.

With the MLB offseason officially upon us, the rumors surrounding this potential transaction have swirled back up. Yet, how realistic are these rumors?

Well for one, head of baseball operations Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox are in a much different position this offseason. Boston cleared its cap space by unloading Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. Yes, Boston fans always envisioned Betts returning home. But after a 2020 World Series championship with the Dodgers, that was never going to happen.

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Yet now, even after a 24-36 record in 2020, the Red Sox are in a position to begin the rebuild. In all honesty, the main goal of last season was to hit the reset button. The cap space was cleared, the on-the-field product was dismal as a result, but it’s time to start putting the pieces back together.

So how exactly does Bryant fit Boston’s needs? It’s likely that every MLB team, especially the ones finishing 10+ games under .500 baseball last year, would be thrilled to add a former MVP winner to its roster.

Admittedly, Bryant wasn’t himself in 2019 and 2020. After a myriad of injuries, the primary third baseman hit .206 last season with four home runs and an OPS of .644, nearly 200 points below his career-low. Regardless, in six MLB seasons, Bryant is a career .280 hitter and averages 23 home runs and 69 RBIs each year.

Bryant also enters the final year of his contract with Chicago. He’s due $18.6 million this season before hitting unrestricted free agency. It’s no surprise that the Cubs are shopping Bryant’s services.

Another question surrounding this trade is Bryant’s ability to switch to left field. Rafael Devers is the cornerstone of Boston’s franchise, and no amount of talent will move him off third base. This means Bryant transitioning full-time into left field. The 28-year-old has played 111 of his 740 career MLB games in left field.

In 111 games played in left field, Bryant owns a .967 fielding percentage. Of course, he’d have to adjust to the Green Monster, but the former MVP has displayed solid defensive abilities throughout his career.

Perhaps the last question around this trade surrounds what the Red Sox can offer Chicago for his services. One idea comes from Alex Barth of Boston’s 98.5 TheSportsHub radio station.

Barth suggests a package centered around Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi, a 26-year-old left fielder, also struggled in 2019 and 2020. Injuries kept the young outfielder to just 14 games played last season. In his last full season in 2019, Benintendi hit .266 with 68 RBIs.

Like Bryant, Benintendi was considered a highly-touted prospect. Boston owes him $6.6 million next year. If Chicago wants to unload almost $12 million in cap space for a slightly less-proven hitter, this deal makes sense.

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In turn, the Boston Red Sox may be the perfect change of scenery to revitalize Bryant’s career. And if not, surely Bloom can flip a former MVP and Rookie of the Year winner for additional prospects down the line.