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Trading for Kris Bryant: A TGP Slack conversation

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You get a peek at the behind the curtains conversations we have about different topics

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

It all started with a simple poll tweet.

It asked a simple question: would you trade Alec Bohm, one of Spencer Howard/Scott Kingery, and one of Francisco Morales/Erik Miller for Kris “two years of control” Bryant? What ensued is the conversation between The Good Phight writers and some friends you may, or may not, recognize. Enjoy!


Ryan H

To answer Ethan’s tweet, yeah. I do Bohm + Kingery + Morales/Miller all day long.

Alex Carr

That is a big ‘ol no for me, tbh.

Ryan H

Of course, the Phillies won’t because you have to pay Bryant lots of money.

Ethan Witte

I’m with Ryan on this one. If it’s Kingery, yes sir.

Ryan H

I mean, this is Kris Bryant were talking about.

Matt Winkelman

The Morales to Miller gap is large. I probably do the Bohm+Kingery+(and I hope Miller, but I might do Morales). But middle infield is a disaster if there is any injury.

Alex Carr

Yup. That’s what I’d be worried about. This guy is not going to sign an extension with you. It’s an all-in win-now trade for a team that is not ready to go all-in.

Ethan Witte

I’d figure it out. Segura can back up SS, [Neil] Walker can at least man 2B.

Matt Winkelman

Not really, at least not more than in an emergency.

Ethan Witte

Obviously.

Matt Winkelman

There is nothing in AAA there. It isn’t a hard stop, but it certainly is something to consider.

Ethan Witte

He [Walker] can fake it for 10 days. But you’d also have Kris Bryant for 2 years now.

Matt Winkelman

The AAA MI are Raul Rivas, Jose Gomez, Jose Antequera, Josh Harrison, Phil Gosselin, Luke Williams maybe. AA is Arquimedes Gamboa, Nick Maton, Daniel Brito, Dalton Guthrie.

Alex Carr

You’re selling a plus bat, a VERY rare utility fielder with major upside, and a prospect for two years of a guy who won’t extend with you. And you’re wasting one of them with an incomplete rotation.

Ethan Witte

Kris. Bryant.

Ryan H

I’m not holding back on getting Kris Bryant because there might be a hole at 2B if one of the starters gets hurt.

Ethan Witte

Bryant/Harper/JTR looks awfully good. That middle of the order can make the rotation look a lot better.

Alex Carr

Yes, but at best they make the playoffs.

Paul Boyé

Isn’t that the point?

Alex Carr

They still lose in the NLDS/CS.

Ethan Witte

That’s all you need. Just get there.

Paul Boyé

Anything can happen in the playoffs.

Matt Winkelman

It would make not going over the tax earlier look really bad.

Alex Carr

What Matt said.

Matt Winkelman

I probably do it, but you need to be proactive about how old and fragile you have made your team.

Ryan H

Not going over the tax already looks really damn bad, and also shows why this conversation is moot, as the Phillies aren’t taking on Bryant’s salary at the cost of going over the tax.

Ethan Witte

It’s two years of playoff teams!

Alex Carr

I mean, I don’t know why we’re talking about it either way, it’s not happening.

Matt Winkelman

They aren’t doing the deal because if they were thinking about it, they would have signed Donaldson.

Ryan H

Yup.

Alex Carr

It would make missing on Rendon, missing Donaldson, etc. look horrible because they just cost you money.

Ryan H

(that all already looks horrible to me)

Alex Carr

And they were guaranteed to be with you longer than two years.

Ethan Witte

I can tell you that if they did trade for Bryant, the last thing I’d be thinking is how they missed on other guys in free agency.

Ryan H

But just as a simple thought experiment, if you ask me, in isolation, would I trade Kingery + Bohm + Miller/Morales for two years of Kris Bryant on this core of a team, I say yes every day.

Alex Carr

Yes, but then in two years you’d be complaining about how they should have just signed Anthony Rendon when Kris Bryant signs with the Dodgers.

Ethan Witte

54/46 “no” right now <—— (poll results)

Ryan H

Not really. The most likely scenario, if he did sign elsewhere, would be me complaining they the Phillies were too cheap in failing to match whatever offer he got, because all things equal I don’t see guys walking away from equal money if they get to stay on a team with peak Harper, Realmuto, and Nola.

Dan Cormican

Ignoring the pitchers, Kingery is perhaps a 3 WAR player and Bohm I would suspect is in the same neighborhood. So that might be 6-7 WAR going to the Cubs. Bryant is a 6-ish WAR player, whose defense is likely going to get worse (though probably after the 2 years you’d get in this trade) and Bohm’s absolute ceiling is probably 2019 Bryant. I don’t think that trade’s a slam dunk, since you’re getting relative certainty with Bryant, but potentially losing WAR.

Ryan H

WAR isn’t linear considering roster spots are limited. One 6 WAR player >> two 3 WAR players.

Alex Carr

Kingery was a 3 WAR player last year... in 126 games. At a non-stable position. With strikeout issues. He is criminally undervalued.

Eric Chesterton

Are we sure Kingery is actually good?

Paul Boyé

I am not. Not yet.

Ryan H

He had 6 good weeks in a 5 month season.

Dan Cormican

Oh, sure. I agree with that (Ryan). I’m pretty high on Bohm and could see a 4-5 WAR player, which is probably within 1 WAR of current Bryant.

Eric Chesterton

I’m still not convinced we’re not looking at a hot month carrying the season line.

Ryan H

(6+ month season, actually)

Alex Carr

His whole first half was amazing.

Ryan H

Uhhhh....

Alex Carr

.292/.344/.545. 11 HR. Just really, really bad K:BB, which needs to be fixed. In fact, when you break it down monthly, his July and September sucked. The rest of his season was stellar.

Paul Boyé

So i like Kingery, but we also need to acknowledge that his strikeout rates have worsened during his time as a pro and he’s about to be the same age that Maikel Franco was when we all agreed he had no projection left. Not that they’re the same player at all. but just to be sure we’re being level set here

Ryan H

He’s never, at any level, been able to control the strike zone though. Why would that change?

Alex Carr

As long as he’s producing, he can strike out 200 times in a season, I don’t care. When he makes contact, it’s meaningful, and he makes contact quite often.

Ryan H

I mean, he finished the season in which you’re claiming he was mostly stellar with a .315 OBP.

Alex Carr

Yes, and yet, he managed to accumulate 3 WAR.

Ryan H

He’s not a slugger who’s going to hit 45 HR with a low OBP, so there’s not a lot of offensive value there.

Alex Carr

He hit 19 HR in 126 games. He slugged .474. He is an extra base hit machine.

Paul Boyé

I would like to believe these things. but i haven’t seen enough at the ML level to be there right now.

Alex Carr

I agree.

Ryan H

I feel like he’s an out machine, who occasionally makes solid contact and derives a lot of value from his plus defensive abilities.

Alex Carr

But, at worst, you’re paying the guy like a bench player for the next 4 years.

Ryan H

But that’s not a guy I hold on to if I can get Bryant.

Alex Carr

And that’s your opinion Ryan. I’m of the opinion that he has really quick hands, a solid feel for contact, and a surprising ability to drive the ball. I think he’s due for a big year, which is probably why I’m so reluctant to get rid of him.

Paul Boyé

I mean the contact thing is where i’m totally lost, but i do agree that he’s a nice player even if he ends up closer to his current career averages than last April. He’s not a star or MVP candidate.

Alex Carr

I agree. Well, about the MVP candidate thing, I do think he’s a potential all-star, but not Kris Bryant level star. And we’re also looking at a supremely talented bat in Alec Bohm, and we have no idea where that’s going to lead.

Paul Boyé

And again, demon on the shoulder, Bohm is already older than Bryant was at his debut age, and can barely crack a consensus top 50 with less favorable defensive projections at 3B than Bryant had. Along with the sour taste in the mouth (that, to be clear, is not Bohm’s fault) of this organization frequently failing to get players to make a successful jump from the upper minors to MLB. Bryant is a different class of player.

Jason Polinsky

I think this trade only makes sense if you think you can win a World Series in the next two years (because he ain’t re-signing) and doesn’t hinder a J.T. Realmuto extension. Otherwise, I probably don’t do it.

Alex Carr

Bryant was 23 right (at debut)? Bohm is also 23.

Paul Boyé

Yeah. Baseball Reference tells me 23 and 3 months, Bohm is 23 and 6 months today.

Matt Winkelman

Bohm is old for his year, but they are on same debut path.

Alex Carr

Yeah, I’m not saying Bohm is a Bryant level prospect, but the bat is really, really good.

Matt Winkelman

I think Bohm is underrated as a prospect (same with Howard), but I think Bryant is being underrated as well.

Alex Carr

Even if he does just shift to 1B, there is every possibility that his bat could be incredibly impactful. Agreed with Matt.

Matt Winkelman

I also think Bryant is probably not a 3B long term.

Alex Carr

Same with Bohm, but agreed.

Dan Cormican

Also, Bryant’s glove was not that well regarded as a prospect (weirdly neither was Arenado’s).

Alex Carr

Eh, I think that was because of his frame though, Dan.

Dan Cormican

Yeah, Bohm has the same limitation driving his bad defensive projection.

Matt Winkelman

If you are trading for Kris Bryant the deal is going to be painful as f***.

Paul Boyé

More painful than 8 straight years without a playoff spot or roughly equal? 9, whatever it is.

Matt Winkelman

I don’t think the pain is a negative, it is the price. It hurt to get Realmuto too, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it. If you want to play with the big kids it will cost you.

Dan Cormican

Yeah, painless trades with big upside are crazy rare.

Alex Carr

Just because they might go another year without a playoff spot doesn’t mean they should shove their chips just to get a playoff spot — especially not if they want to sustain their success. I think they’ve done enough to compete for a spot this year. I’m in the minority there, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Dan Cormican

I’m with you, Alex. Less, that I think the Phillies did enough than I think the Nats, Mets and Braves lost enough.

Matt Winkelman

I agree they can compete, but that isn’t a magical line you cross and you are safe.

Paul Boyé

i very badly need to see a drafted/developed player take a legitimate, sustained leap this season. My faith in their promotions is low right now. At the MLB level, I mean.

Ryan H

Though I don’t have historical stats at my disposal right now, I have a gut feeling that most prospect for established superstar in their prime trades work out pretty well for the superstar acquiring teams.

Paul Boyé

Already 6 years ago at this point, but yes he’s a mark in the + column.

Dan Cormican

You are correct. Even the bad ones usually end up about even.

Matt Winkelman

It would be nice. I will say that Adam Haseley arrived early and better than expected. Bohm also improved under their development last year and his walk, strikeout and power numbers are extremely rare for his profile.

Alex Carr

Yeah, Haseley is a nice surprise.

Paul Boyé

And i’ll say it again to be clear that I absolutely want the guys already in house to surge forward. I really do, i’m not throwing overboard everything that isn’t tied down.

Matt Winkelman

They need guys to step up. Because trade or no trade, they are pretty locked up salary wise and need to get done internal support

Alex Carr

Well, locked up salary wise until $50 million comes off the books next year.

Dan Cormican

True, but it’s amazing how quickly a MLB team can spend $50 million. Realmuto might be close to half of that.

Alex Carr

Yeah, but if they plan on reeeaaallly competing, they’ll head into the tax.

Matt Winkelman

Plus Hoskins hits arbitration, and either they are going to be paying SP in arbitration or buying another one. They don’t have a lot of room to make more than a few moves.

Alex Carr

Well, Realmuto’s extension is technically already eating up $10 million. So assume he gets a $20 million AAV? That leaves them with $40 million of space. If they head into the tax, $80 million. These are rough numbers, but it’s not an insignificant amount of spending room.

Ryan H

Call me skeptical when it comes to them blowing the tax and trying to really compete. Middleton’s stated mantra, that they won’t blow the tax just to become a wildcard contender, is kind of a self fulfilling prophecy, in that the team doesn’t have enough young, cheaply controlled talent to waltz into the playoffs, and so the only way to ensure they’re good enough to make the playoffs is to spend past the tax, which he won’t commit to doing on a team that can only currently be projected to be in the hunt.

Paul Boyé

I do struggle trying to figure out what the tipping point is that gets them to change course there. It’s frustrating and i hate it, but they certainly seem determined to stick to it right now.

Ryan H

Does anyone know the luxury tax implications of insurance payments for guys who are going to miss the whole year? (Thinking about Robertson, specifically)

Paul Boyé

Far as I know, all AAV counts (unless maybe there’s a pro-rated discount for restricted list things like odubel last year?) Can’t remember.

Dan Cormican

I do and don’t agree. The 2008 Phillies, on paper, were not as good as the 2009, 2010 and maybe still, the 2011 versions. The 2007 Phillies were pretty close to ‘08. If the Phillies get a few career years, suddenly they could be waltzing in and no excuse to not blast the lux tax to smithereens.

Alex Carr

That would be why they can’t simply trade away Bohm, Kingery, etc for a mega-star in KB — they need young, cheaply controlled talent, which they FINALLY might have.

Dan Cormican

Correct, Insurance doesn’t negate payroll implications.

Paul Boyé

Agree there that they need it. Getting even more critical as some of these guys reach late arbitration without proving themselves to be mainstays.

Alex Carr

Plus, Hoskins’ arbitration number will be severely damaged by his 2019 season, so I don’t think that’s necessarily a worry... yet. Also, lest we forget, Mookie Betts is going to be a Free Agent. If they really want a mega star, that’s your guy.

Jason Polinsky

He’s the only star (outside of JT) that will be a free agent next year.

Dan Cormican

I look forward to everyone asking this fall if we can sign him and move him back to second base, since everyone now misses that discussion from the Odubel days.

Paul Boyé

Honestly maybe I've been thinking about this all wrong. Maybe if they’re looking to make a move, they go after someone with more control, one of those more creative trades that can surprise. Like Tampa Bay did with Tommy Pham.

Alex Carr

At 3B you mean? Or just in general?

Matt Winkelman

Bring me German Marquez at midseason.

Alex Carr

Ugh, please.

Paul Boyé

In general.

Alex Carr

Who did you have in mind?

Paul Boyé

So yeah maybe someone like marquez? john means? Not really sure.

Dan Cormican

I would love Marquez, but I suspect the Rockies also do.

Alex Carr

I love when we get those kinds of discussions going.

Matt Winkelman

No problem. I think I may have already mentioned it, but Bohm is in Clearwater working on defense on the backfields (next to 2019 pick Jamari Baylor). Bohm is an absolute workaholic who was one of Ochart’s most devoted students

Alex Carr

Yeah, I’ve heard that about him. Like, he’s constantly working. He even said, when asked about his 3B defense, that he’s better than people think, and he’ll keep working until they acknowledge that.

Matt Winkelman

He has structural things that will always be average at best, mostly he is a giant and not that athletic.

Alex Carr

Totally, but I think it’s awesome that he just keeps working. You can’t teach that.

Ethan Witte

Ok.

End of Bryant discussion.

This will all be in a post.

So stop it.

Now.