While the Boston Red Sox made waves when they dealt Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2020 campaign, they apparently looked into trading for another star player even though they finished last in the American League East.
On the surface, trading Bryant during the 2020 season would not have made much sense for the Cubs.
After all, they won the National League Central and had a win-now roster with many of the same key pieces that helped them win the 2016 World Series. Bryant was an important part of that even if he struggled on his way to a .206/.293/.351 slash line, four home runs and 11 RBI during 34 games in a disappointing individual effort.
However, there is more than meets the immediate eye with Bryant and the Cubs as a whole.
The Ricketts family, who own the Cubs, have consistently complained about the lack of resources to add to the payroll even though Forbes listed them as the fourth-most valuable franchise in baseball coming into the 2020 campaign.
Trading Bryant, who is eligible for free agency following the 2021 season, could have helped clear payroll and replenish the farm system. It should perhaps come as no surprise then that he has been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason, as well.
"You have to look at it this way. What would he get in salary [for 2021] on a one-year deal if he were a free agent right now?" one team official told ESPN's Buster Olney of the financial concerns surrounding a potential Bryant trade. "He probably wouldn't get $18 million."
Still, Bryant could very well bounce back and be one of the best players in the league if he remains healthy.
He is just 28 years old and has a National League MVP, an NL Rookie of the Year, three All-Star appearances and a World Series ring on his resume. Injuries have been the biggest concern of late, which could change in 2021.
If it does, it apparently won't be for the Red Sox.