The Mets have been linked strongly to both Kris Bryant and Javier Báez, but it now appears as though they might be going after a different Cub. According to Jon Heyman, the Mets are prioritizing pitching and have identified Zach Davies as target. He adds that both Bryant and Báez are possibilities, something Ken Rosenthal went on to confirm.
There could be a package deal with Davies and one of the position players, though how that impacts the Cubs’ return was not mentioned in any of these reports. While it seems obvious that the haul would be much greater by adding either impact position player to a decent mid-rotation starter, it’s possible the value would not be as great as trying to work out separate deals.
Hearing a combination deal – Davies and one of the two position players – is one possibility. But nothing close at this point. https://t.co/FPMjt4WJob
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2021
There’s also the matter of how much money the Cubs are willing to eat, with the Anthony Rizzo deal and others suggesting they prefer to maximize the prospect return rather than saving payroll for this year. Previous rumors involving the Mets have said they’re unwilling to part with top prospects, which is exactly what you’d expect to hear.
“On the offensive end, if they are able to acquire Bryant from the Cubs, it won’t be in exchange for top prospects Francisco Alvarez or Brett Baty, given the fact that Bryant is a rental player,” FanNation’s Pat Ragazzo wrote last week. “However, shortstop prospect Ronny Mauricio, or Double-A third baseman Mark Vientos, who is having a career year for Binghamton, could potentially be in the cards as trade chips.”
There is also a sense that the Mets are trying to downplay their obvious interest in both Bryant and Báez, as indicated in the language of the tweets above. I get that not all teams have the same needs, but to say their fires burn brighter for Davies after all the smoke coming from the other two is a little difficult to swallow.
Beyond just parsing tweets, there was a previous report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post that felt like the organization was trying to create leverage by playing hard to get. One way or the other, it feels inevitable that the Cubs will be selling of everyone they can by the 3pm CT deadline.
Update: Heyman is reporting that the Cubs and Mets “remain apart” in talks for Bryant, which is good because no one deserves to end up with the Mets. However, Heyman followed that thought with a rhetorical question that Báez might be a more likely candidate. Thanks, Jon, I hate it.
Mets and Cubs remain apart in Kris Bryant talks. Doesn’t mean he can’t end up there, but there’s work to do. Perhaps Baez is more likely?
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 30, 2021