Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant hasn’t slowed down one bit since being promoted on June 18 from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa and slugged his 38th home run of the season on Saturday night in Oklahoma City, home of the Astros’ Triple-A team.
Bryant is now in a deadlock with Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo — a fellow native of Las Vegas, Nevada — for the minor league home run lead.
Since being selected second overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego, the 22-year-old Bryant has batted .340/.435/.691 with 47 homers and 129 RBI in 153 minor league games. He is not expected to join fellow Top 10 prospect Javier Baez in Chicago this year, but Bryant could very well be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster in 2015. There’s been talk of moving the 6-foot-6 slugger to right field.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.