The question is probably who wouldn’t at least call to check in on Kris Bryant if they really believed that the Chicago Cubs might trade their 27-year-old third baseman, who finished the 2019 campaign with a .282/.382/.521 line, 35 doubles, and 31 home runs in 147 games and 634 plate appearances, over which he was worth 4.8 fWAR?
According to a report by MLB.com’s Jon Morosi this morning, the Washington Nationals, who are in the market for a third baseman, whether it’s Anthony Rendon, (their own third baseman for the past seven seasons, who’s now a free agent), or Josh Donaldson, (who’s reportedly seen as an option for Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office if they can’t convince Rendon to stay in the nation’s capital), reached out to ask about Bryant, whose name has come up as a potential trade chip for Chicago this winter.
Morosi reported that, “the Nationals have made an initial inquiry to the Cubs about trading for third baseman Kris Bryant, sources say,” though he notes that the general consensus is that teams will wait until the free agents on the market sign and Bryant’s service time issue with the Cubbies is resolved.
“Ken Rosenthal reported Monday on MLB Network,” Morosi wrote, that, “... the market for Bryant hinges on two factors: Teams in the third-base market are likely to wait until after Rendon and Josh Donaldson sign free-agent contracts before making their best offers to the Cubs for Bryant, and the lack of resolution on Bryant’s service-time grievance has created uncertainty in his value.”
Will teams be trading for one year of Bryant’s services or two?
The return for the Cubs will likely be markedly different depending on how that situation is resolved, though an, “arbitrator is expected to rule in the next two weeks.”
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez, who served as the Cubs’ bench coach under Joe Maddon from 2014-17, was asked on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings in San Diego what he made of the fact that Bryant was being talked about as a trade possibility this winter and what that said about the state of the game right now, financially speaking.
“For me,” Martinez said, “you talk about a guy like Kris Bryant, who is a tremendous player, and anybody, including the Cubs, will benefit from having a player like him. So this game, we’re in a new era. So this game, things are going to change. Things are going to happen.
“Talking to some of these guys, the players just want to play, and that’s all they worry about.
“So regardless of where he ends up -- and for me, I still believe he’s a Chicago Cub, he’s going to do well.”
Are you buying the possibility that Bryant actually gets dealt?
Would you want the Nats to pay what will likely be a prohibitive cost (in terms of prospects) to get a year or two of Bryant at third base if Rendon is moving on?
There was some chatter about the Nationals’ search for a third baseman out of the Winter Meetings this afternoon:
The Nationals remain interested in Josh Donaldson, according to multiple people, and are ready to pivot to Donaldson as a replacement for Anthony Rendon at third base.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) December 10, 2019
Scott Boras says that Anthony Rendon talks are progressing and there are multiple deals on the table. It is, of course, prudent for him to say that. But he characterized discussions as moving along, and says Rendon is evaluating what’s been presented.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) December 10, 2019
Boras points out Mark Lerner’s comments about Strasburg or Rendon came before Strasburg’s terms were finalized, which leads him to suggest flexibility in that contract could put Rendon in play for them in a different way.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) December 10, 2019
This, of course, is also Boras’ job to create market.
Boras says clubs have been consistent so far in offering Rendon a 7-year deal. Also says Rendon and Trout are the only players with "6 WAR appraisals" the last 3 years. "So he is literally atop the game, one of the game's greatest."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) December 10, 2019