Kris Bryant Trade Talks
In the early stages of the off-season, most teams are preparing for the future — whether that be through free agency or trades. The Chicago Cubs are no different. Chicago’s front office led by Theo Epstein, have many decisions to make in the coming months. None bigger than the one involving Kris Bryant, who has repeatedly been rumored to be on the trade block.
Bryant expects a contract extension soon. His tenure with the Cubs will expire in 2021. As one of the premier third baseman in the league, Bryant wants to be paid as such. The framework has already been set by fellow third baseman, like Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado. Arenado signed an eight-year extension worth $260 million. While Machado inked a ten-year $300 million deal.
Chicago has been very hesitant in negotiations, which may lead to him ultimately being moved. Plenty of teams would love to have the former MVP at the hot corner, in 2020. Here are some possible trade destinations for Kris Bryant, this off-season.
Now, for this to happen, it would probably mean the defending champions didn’t resign Anthony Rendon. My guess is that they make a huge effort to not let that happen, after productions he just had in 2019, but if it does…. hello Kris Bryant? It makes sense that the Washington Nationals would be willing to make the trade because they’re in clear win-now mode.
Obviously, they would like to avoid a disappointing defending championship season, similar to the Boston Red Sox’s. Boston seemed to be content with their roster and failed to make any big moves, in return they missed the playoffs. Although this situation is different, I don’t expect the Nationals to sit idly by and watch as their star third baseman leaves. If Rendon decides to sign elsewhere, Bryant may just be playing in D.C this spring.
Another interesting team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. CBS’ Mike Axisa mentioned the “significant payroll flexibility,” that the D-Backs have this off-season — meaning they can afford Bryant. This would undoubtedly make them a much better team, let’s not forget that they hung in the playoff race up until the final weeks of the 2019 season.
Axisa broke down how they managed to do it: “The D-Backs stayed afloat because Ketel Marte developed into an MVP candidate, Carson Kelly immediately stepped in as an above-average catcher, and slugging first baseman Christian Walker had a breakout year. Also, GM Mike Hazen managed to unload Zack Greinke’s contract and shrewdly picked up righty Zac Gallen in a trade with the Miami Marlins. It was a productive deadline.”
It seems that Arizona may have been preparing for a big off-season, and it may be more likely that they just outright sign players through free agency. For the trade to work, Chicago would probably want some prospects in return. The move would also require the Diamondbacks to shake up their line-up but to add a slugger like Bryant that may not be a problem.
It has been tough sailing in the “Lone-Star State”, in recent years. The Texas Rangers have yet to successfully fill their void at third base, since the departure of Adrian Beltre. Texas is definitely able to afford Bryant’s contract, but their problem is the trade assets. They don’t have much talent on the roster to match an offer. Chicago would most likely want some of the Ranger’s best prospects in the minors.
Here are some promising names: Josh Jung, Hans Crouse, Joe Palumbo, Cole Winn, and Brock Burke. That list was mostly pitching prospects because the Cubs are in need of some quality arms in the farm system — they have been relying on the free-agent market for rotation help. Jung is the only position player, he plays third base and was drafted 8th overall by Texas in the 2019 draft. To get this deal done, the Rangers may need to sacrifice some rising talents. That’s the steep cost for a player, like Kris Bryant.
Los Angeles Dodgers
What team and fan base wants to win more than the Los Angeles Dodgers? The team hasn’t had a losing season in 14 years, yet they continue to fall short in their quest for a world series championship. A player like Kris Bryant could finally be the boost they need. Current Dodger third baseman, Justin Turner, says he is willing to take a position change.
Honestly, Los Angeles could make this deal happen without hurting their already loaded roster. The Dodgers have great young prospects, who could become future stars. Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Keibert Ruiz, and Josiah Gray, headline the list. They would probably love to see these guys grow into fantastic major-league players, but they are all still developing. Including some of these names in a deal for Kris Bryant, could be all it takes to seal it.
New York Yankees
To round out possible destinations, there are the New York Yankees, who were one of the most stacked teams in major league baseball. They had injury after injury, yet the team never wavered because of the amount of depth on the roster. With that being said, a trade for ‘KB’ is unlikely, as their focus will probably be elsewhere, but it doesn’t hurt to speculate.
The possibilities are endless when attempting to put a trade together for these two teams. Miguel Andujar and Gio Urshela are a couple of big-league players that could be included in a deal. On the other side, Kyle Schwarber has been mentioned in trade talks as well, dating all the way back to 2016. Realistically, the Yankees are expected to make moves for pitching help, first and foremost.
After that, we could possibly see a blockbuster trade with the ‘Cubbies’. Strictly looking at the Yankee’s depth throughout the roster, they certainly have the means to make this happen. Bryant would be a crazy addition to an already stacked infield featuring: Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu.
Cubs, Bryant Future
The future is truly unknown for the Cubs and Bryant. Chicago has many other players rumored to be available via trade, which just increases the uncertainty. The roster may look entirely different come spring training. Some club favorites might be moved and some new names will probably be making their debuts in the ‘Friendly Confines’.
As for Kris Bryant, he may not be a Cub next year, but he will eventually get the extension he deserves. There’s no doubt the three-time All-Star will make huge contributions to whoever he plays for in 2020 — as long as he stays healthy. This is just one of the many trade rumors circulating early in the off-season, our questions will hopefully be answered in due time.
A college student, aspiring to be a sports writer. I write about all things MLB, and specifically the Chicago Cubs. Follow my Instagram and Twitter @barnhart_22.