Update: I wanted to believe, I really did, but it turns out my initial reaction was correct. Well, that and knowing that there’s no way in hell the Cubs would suddenly reverse course and add to the payroll in a huge way.
You’ll be forgiven for calling the headline clickbait because it’s a real doozy that lays out a highly unlikely scenario. It’s the product of some potentially odd phrasing in a conversation between Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score’s Inside the Clubhouse, so take that for what it’s worth. Levine had just finished laying out some specific names being discussed between the Cards and Rockies in a Nolan Arenado trade before turning to the Cubs’ reported interest.
Bruce Levine just reported on the radio that the deal discussed between the Cards and Rockies has been:
Dakota Hudson, Carlos Martinez, Tyler O'Neill and Matt Liberatore for Nolan Arenado
— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) January 11, 2020
“Could the Cubs end up with Arenado, and would that automatically mean that Bryant goes somewhere else?” Levine asked rhetorically. “Or, from what I heard inside the Cub organization, are they considering making Bryant their everyday center fielder?”
To be fair, these may be wholly separate thoughts that are simply bound by the epoxy of adjacency. Levine did go on on to clarify that the Cubs may be looking for Kris Bryant to play center in general and not just as a necessity in the case of an Arenado trade that everyone to this point has assumed would see Bryant shipped out.
The idea of Bryant patrolling center may not be specifically related to the Cubs’ interest in Arenado, so Levine may have tied the two together just to titillate listeners and get bloggers a-blogging. Or maybe he just got out ahead of himself in the discussion. However, and this is important, he teased the show by tweeting “Arenado / Bryant or both.” With that in mind, I think we have to believe to at least some extent that there’s a legitimate possibility this is for real.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) January 11, 2020
That said, there are still a whole lot of moving parts, not the least of which is that it would mean blowing the hell out of the tax threshold the Cubs have been avoiding like the plague. Trading for Arenado would require the Cubs to part with some elite talent in order make the Rockies whole and possibly to offset a big salary going to Colorado, so you’re looking at a significant depletion of the MLB roster and the farm.
Unless, that is, the Cubs convince the Rox that they’re going to use Arenado as KB’s primary backup and a general infield depth guy in order to drive his cost down. Wait, no, that’s not a possibility. Anyway, the way I initially interpreted Levine’s report was that trading for Arenado would not mean Bryant has to go because the Cubs might want Bryant to play center regardless.
And I’m just going to stop there because, as you can clearly tell, the very idea of having both Bryant and Arenado on the North Side has effectively melted my brain. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to light a few candles and pour myself a glass of wine.
Ed. note: Levine went on to clarify later in the show that he was indeed just making note of the Cubs/Arenado rumors.