The Oakland A’s are going to be looking to contend in 2021. Acquiring Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs would be a gamble, but it could make sense.
As free agency has begun, and speculation as to landing spots continues, there are a lot of questions surrounding the Chicago Cubs. Despite winning the NL Central last year, their window of opportunity may be about to close, leading to plenty of rumors as to the direction of the club. Third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant has been prominent in those rumors once again, as he had been considered a trade candidate last offseason as well.
Nominally, this would not be something that should move the needle for the A’s. Oakland is potentially facing a major budget decrease in every aspect, making it imperative that they locate low cost options to fill out the roster. Yes, there will be some savings due to their multitude of free agents, but those players still need to be replaced.
Meanwhile, one of those holes in the A’s lineup is in the outfield. Robbie Grossman is likely to depart via free agency, likely leaving Oakland to attempt to plug that hole with minor leaguers or a low cost bargain bin option.
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Instead, Bryant could be the piece that the A’s need. Their offense had been overly reliant upon the home run to score last season, a major weakness that was exploited when no one else was on base. With a lifetime .380 on base percentage, and a solid batting eye, Bryant could help solve some of those issues.
He may also cost far less than would be expected in terms of a trade. A free agent after the upcoming season, he struggled through the 2020 campaign, posting a career worst 73 OPS+. In his 147 plate appearances, Bryant produced a meager .206/.293/.351 batting line in his 147 plate appearances, with just four homers and five doubles.
In the end, it will come down to finances. Bryant had a $18.6 million contract last year, and is not likely to receive any less in his final year of arbitration. While he would certainly be worth that money if he can replicate his typical production, it comes down to the A’s willingness to make that financial gamble.
Kris Bryant could be a game changer for the Oakland A’s. It just comes down to whether or not they can afford to take that risk.