Braves and Cubs Hypothetical Trades

The Trading Card Database - 2016 Topps Heritage - Gum Stain #70 Kris Bryant  | Kris bryant chicago cubs, Kris bryant cubs, Kris bryant

After the Cubs pulled off a trade on the 29th sending Yu Darvish and former Braves minor leaguer Victor Caratini to the Padres for Zach Davies, Reginald Preciado, Yeison Santana, Owen Caissie, and Ismael Mena, speculation has surrounded the Cubs and their higher priced players. I couldn’t help myself and yes, I’ve come up with a few Braves and Cubs Hypothetical Trades.

Taking a quick look at the Cubs payroll over at Cot’s, the Cubs have quite a bit of high profile players making high profile salaries.

Knowing how Alex Anthopoulos operates, Jason Heyward is likely out of the picture as a 3 year commitment isn’t something that we’ve seen from him in the past, especially with such a high AAV. However, Anthopoulous could have some sort of interest in 3 of the remaining 4. It’s a weird time to be a Cubs fan. With no GM at the helm (Jed Hoyer seems to be running the show for now) and none expected for the rest of the offseason, the faceless actions will come with less scrutiny toward any individual and therefore will likely continue to happen. Let’s take a look at each of the 3 players, their trade values or lack thereof, and see if we can make a deal work.

Kris Bryant Trade Value

The trade simulator has been a fun little tool that I’ve used a lot in the past. While sometimes the values make me question how often the site gets updated, I feel as though their values more often than not match my own.

For Bryant, his down 2020 has all but extinguished his surplus value. He comes in at +$3.7MM. It’s important to understand that +$3.7MM isn’t his total value, rather just his surplus. Add the $19MM to the $3.7MM and the trade simulator is essentially projecting him to be 2.5-3 WAR player. It’s hard to grade whether the Cubs will sell low on Bryant considering he’s been a star for them for so long, but his 2020 was bad in all the ways it could be, and that includes his Statcast data which showed his batted ball profile to be well below average. The good thing is the Braves should be able to get Bryant for very little, but with his pedigree and the 1-year of control, there will likely be other teams who’d also enjoy Bryant hitting in the middle of their order.

Craig Kimbrel Trade Value

Weird that we’re discussing this, right? The great Craig Kimbrel, who collected 333 saves, 868 strikeouts, and carried 1.91 ERA over his first 9 years in the league, signed in the middle of the 2019 season to a 3/$42MM and has absolutely stunk as a Cubbie. How stinky? A 6 ERA in 36 innings of pure Pepé Le Pew stank. Needless to say, he has negative trade value coming in at -$10.8MM.

Javier Baez Trade Value

.599. That’s bad, right? Well, if it was his batting average, or slugging percentage, it wouldn’t be. However, this was Baez’s OPS in 2020. Yeesh. Prior to his putrid 2020, Baez was a back to back 5 WAR player and prior to that, mid-2s. He’s good, but a lot of his value comes with exceptional defense at shortstop and the Braves already have one of those. Luckily, he’s really good at playing a lot of positions and Anthopoulos has never shied away from grabbing a player and figuring out the fit later. The trade simulator didn’t buy into his 2020, but also didn’t gauge his value at his 2019 production either. Rather, he comes in at +$11.5MM, which when added to his projected salary of $11.25MM, put him right there with Kris Bryant. Let’s be real here…he’ll cost more than Kris Bryant.

Fake Trade Idea Number 1

Breakdown: Braves give up on 2 former first round prospects, but grab their middle of the order bat to replace Marcell Ozuna. The Cubs would’ve simply non-tendered Bryant and saved the ~$19MM if they didn’t think they could trade him. They can…and I think they will.

Fake Trade Idea Number 2

  • Braves get Craig Kimbrel and $4MM
  • Cubs get Ender Inciarte and Sean Newcomb

Breakdown: After the buyouts and the $ coming back to the Braves, the Braves would owe Kimbrel $13MM while parting with Ender’s $9.7MM. A $3.3MM gamble on Kimbrel to rid the Braves of Ender’s dead weight.

Fake Trade Idea Number 3

  • Braves get Javy Baez
  • Cubs get Kyle Muller and Sean Newcomb

Breakdown: It might seem like I’m picking on Sean Newcomb a bit here, but that’s not it. I feel like the Braves simply don’t value him anymore and that many teams would jump at the chance to grab him and put him back into a rotation. It would really hurt to lose Kyle Muller, but the Braves are in need of a power bat and that defense would be stellar with Ozzie Albies at 2B, Dansby Swanson at SS, and Javy Baez at 3B. This trade also keeps Austin Riley in a Braves uniform and allows for him to play DH (if it’s there), LF, and 3B letting Baez flex his flexibility around the diamond.

There are many combos of these trades that could be flirted with, including grabbing both Bryant and Kimbrel in a deal together, which makes a lot of sense for the Braves if it’s basically a salary dump with Ender money coming back and a few pieces mentioned above as the return.

Thanks for reading on Braves and Cubs Hypothetical Trades. If you enjoyed this, check out this other piece on some crazy trade ideas.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

21 thoughts on “Braves and Cubs Hypothetical Trades”

  1. I’m doing the stink for stink trade #2 to clear way for Pache, take the ability for Snit to play Ender and take a flyer on old friend who also fills the RHP need in the pen.

    But I’m also getting KB which means there needs to be another piece from Atlanta going to the Windy City since sadly we can’t trade Newk twice. So AA could be generous and send –
    Mueller, Newk, Touki and Ender
    KB and Kimbrel

    That feels like a slight over pay and based on name alone I could see Hoyer wanting a flyer low minors guy which I’d probably do.

    Assuming these two hypothetical trades are finalized here’s how I would play out the rest of the winter since no one asked-

    Sign one more RHP for the pen –
    Pick from Melancon, Greene or Workman (I’d pick Melancon)

    And now that we have Bryant to play 3B or LF, same with Riley we could use another true OF.

    Josh Reddick mentioned his interest in playing for Atlanta on a podcast the other day so he could be a fit and come relatively cheap. Duvall could fit here too. I’d have to do some digging to see who else would make sense but that looks like a team I’d be real fired up about.

  2. Hard pass on any deals involving Bryant or Kimbrel. Baez would be a nice buy low pickup option. Heyward a non starter, might be the only pickup option worse than Bryant.

  3. You want fair trade this is fair trade

    Braves get
    3B Kris Bryant
    RP Craig Kimbrel

    Cubs get

    3B/Ss Johan Camargo
    CF Ender Inciate
    RP Freddy Tarnok top 20
    LP Phil pfister braves 22
    Of Greyson jenista braves 23

    The braves get Bryant who play 3b and they can play Riley who can play Lf for now , and insurance just in case lose Bryant next year , and and give Kimbrel back home where he belongs and give chance be place where he and family feel Comfortable . And the Cubs get young 3b to replace for Bryant , they get Enders who could use fresh start and off set some of the money and they get 3 young prospect for the their rebuild , that fare trade

  4. OK… BJ Bar Trivia time…

    Without looking… Guesses on the Top 10 SP since 1945 in career Game Scores (Crabby Probably Racist Bill James considers a GS over 50 to be an Effective Start) over 50? You have to name 10 SP and I’ll count your ten to see how many were in the actual 10.

    Whoever gets the most, I’ll send them something from my Etsy shop or an 80s era Braves Rookie Card.

    #2 on the list is VERY VERY interesting.

  5. Braves need 2 bats still, right? I’m counting on Pache, D’arnaud, and Swanson all starting and bringing below-league-average bats to the plate. Add in the pitcher, and you’ve got 4 lineup spots below 100 OPS+. Freddie, Ozzie, Ronald all above average bats. Got to get the 4-5 slots in between those two groups filled with above-average bats if you want a lineup that can hold up to a playoff pitching staff.

    So say they get Bryant and he bounces back like 2020 never happened. He still just backfills the Donaldson/Ozuna lineup spot where the Braves have rolled 7’s two straight years with all-star performances. Even then, the lineup still needs another solid bat. Who do we like?

  6. Top 10 postwar SP in Game Score over 50 is likely to be very similar top 10 SP in Games Started, I’ll warrant.

    In no particular order, I’ll go with…

    Ryan Express
    Big Unit

  7. D’Arnaud had a .411 BABIP last year. I think it’s realistic to expect an .800ish OPS, but not much more.

  8. As suggested, these are crap for crap trades. Which is why they may work. I’d certainly take a flyer on all 3, but I still think Newcomb has value in the pen (likely more than Kimbrel at this point.) The problem is that NO ONE will take Inciarte at this date. All said, I’d go for the 1st trade.

    Frankly, I still say we should try and grab Arenado from Colorado. A high price tag with uncertainty involved, but that’s a bat that could back up Freddie. Bryant could…but we don’t know. Get the sure thing.

    (And yes…I’d love to re-sign Ozuna just for the flavor he brings to the team, but he is not allowed to play LF. Ever. So without the DH…non starter.)

  9. I’ll give that Top 10 a shot. In no particular order:


  10. @11 Hounddog1962 is your winner…

    The order is…

    Ryan 547
    Sutton 514
    Clemens 512
    Maddux 506
    Carlton 487
    Seaver 481
    Perry 470
    Niekro 464
    Blyleven 464
    Randy Johnson 441

    Top 10 Tough Losses (took the loss with a GS > 50)

    Ryan 107
    Early Wynn 103
    Perry 102
    Niekro 101
    Carlton 100
    Blyleven 99
    Sutton 98
    Seaver 96
    Robin Roberts 94
    Spahn 91

    Glavine had 66 TLs
    Smoltz had 53

  11. ALL 10? Seriously?

    Was concentrating on IP and Ks. Almost left Blyleven off for Gibson, before remembering that Gibson got a late start. Almost left Johnson off too, for Spahn, Roberts or some other 60s guy.

    Always loved those Bill James stats. Power/Speed number, anyone?

    BTW, Happy New Year!

  12. If you start at 2000, CC Sabathia is your leader! I was a no HOF for Sabathia guy but I could be converted…

    Tim Hudson was 5th

    Derek Lowe (LOL) is your Cheap Wins since 2000 leader with 41 with Bart Colon in 2nd. Cheap Wins are W with GS <50.

    John Lackey with the most Tough Losses with 50.

  13. Atlanta Braves 1966- present

    GS 0-9 0.4%
    GS 10-19 2.6%
    GS 20-29 8.1%
    GS 30-39 13.4%
    GS 40-49 17.6%
    GS 50-59 22.8%
    GS 60-69 20.2%
    GS 70-79. 11%
    GS 80-89 3.6%
    GS 90-99 0.3%

  14. A guid new year to ane an’ a’
    An’ mony may ye see,
    An’ during a’ the years to come,
    O happy may ye be.
    An’ may ye ne’er hae cause to mourn,
    To sigh or shed a tear;
    To ane an’a baith great an’ sma’
    A hearty guid New year.

  15. Here’s tae us,
    Wha’s like us?
    Dam’ few —
    An’ they’re aw deid!

    Happy Hogmanay, Reay!

  16. You all are hung over, no way you get Bryant or Báez so cheap after one bad year , look at the 3 yrs before ,yes Bryant is over paid but Baez is not if Alex is real he would send them Davidson, De La Cruz ,Weigel & Incarte then they throw in Kimbrel and you got deal not a dream

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