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#pounditSunday, January 23, 2022

Kris Bryant

Phillies, Nationals reportedly have interest in Kris Bryant trade

Kris Bryant

One MLB superstar has already been traded in a blockbuster deal with Mookie Betts being sent from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night, and there is at least a chance Kris Bryant could be next.

Bryant’s name has been at the center of trade rumors throughout the winter, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have shown interest in the star third baseman.

Bryant recently lost a grievance he filed against the Cubs in which he sought an extra year of service time, so he is under team control for two more seasons. While that makes him more appealing to keep on the roster, it also could increase his trade value. Though, it was basically a foregone conclusion that he was going to lose the grievance, so that isn’t really new information.

The Cubs have reportedly discussed a potential blockbuster trade involving Bryant with another NL team, but a deal still seems unlikely.

Bryant, 28, batted .282 with 31 home runs and 77 RBI in 147 games for Chicago last season. The Cubs would likely need to be blown away by an offer to trade him this offseason, though they may not want to wait until next winter if they don’t plan to re-sign him. As we saw with the Betts deal, Bryant’s value could decrease significantly when he’s entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Report: Cubs, Rockies have discussed trading Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado

Kris Bryant

Though we’re fairly late in the MLB offseason, there are still some major potential trades being talked about within the league, including one that would be huge for both teams.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers told NBC Sports Chicago’s “Kap and Co.” that the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies have discussed a one-for-one Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado trade, via Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago. The Rockies would pick up salary as part of the trade.

The Cubs were seen as one of the teams who could be a good match for a potential Arenado trade. While interesting, it certainly doesn’t sound close, and is the product of creative discussions.

We’ve been hearing Bryant trade rumors all offseason. He has two years to go before he becomes a free agent, while Arenado is due $234 million through 2026. Both are star players, and both could still get traded this offseason, but there has been little momentum in trade talks — between these two teams or with anyone else — so far this winter.

Kris Bryant loses grievance against Cubs after seeking to hit free agency sooner

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant has been openly critical of the way Major League Baseball allows teams to manipulate service time with players, and the star third baseman tried to fight the system by filing a grievance against the Chicago Cubs. As expected, Bryant was unsuccessful, meaning he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

Bryant lost the grievance he filed against the Cubs in which he sought an extra year of service time, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Bryant had argued that the Cubs intentionally manipulated his service time by having him spend the first two weeks of the 2015 season in the minors, which is something many teams have done with their rising stars. Unfortunately for Bryant and others, it’s very hard to prove there was manipulation, as teams can argue they had young players begin in the minors for any sort of development reason.

The 28-year-old has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, though talks do not seem to have gone anywhere. Teams may be willing to give up more for Bryant now that it is a certainty that he has two years of team control remaining, though it was somewhat of a foregone conclusion that he was going to lose the grievance.

Bryant unloaded on the Cubs prior to last season for leaving him in the minors for two weeks in 2015 following his impressive spring. Other players in similar situations have also considered filing grievances, but the outcome of Bryant’s case will likely discourage that.

Kris Bryant’s wife Jessica responds to those accusing third baseman of faking flu

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant’s wife Jessica went on Twitter Friday to shoot down fans who think the third baseman is faking the flu.

The Chicago Cubs are holding their 2020 fan convention this weekend, and things began with opening ceremonies on Friday. A few reporters notified the public that Bryant was ill and would be making an appearance on Friday, but otherwise might not be around much.

Trade talks have surrounded Bryant this offseason, so some skeptical fans thought the illness was an excuse to keep the former MVP away from the team since he might not be around long.

Jessica decided to shoot down any of those rumors by saying her husband was legitimately ill.

Bryant did make an appearance at the opening ceremonies and received a huge applause.

Bryant has been part of trade rumors that involved the Phillies in December and the Nationals more recently, but he still remains with the Cubs.

Bryant is set to make $18.6 million in 2020 after avoiding arbitration by agreeing to a deal with the Cubs. He is still waiting on the outcome of his service time grievance with MLB, which will dictate whether he becomes a free agent after the 2020 or 2021 season.

Report: Nationals’ Kris Bryant trade talks have ‘gone nowhere’

Kris Bryant

With the Washington Nationals in need of a third baseman, there was some talk that Chicago’s Kris Bryant could be a logical fit. That may be so, but the Cubs are understandably not giving him up easily.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, talks between the Nationals and Cubs about Bryant have “gone nowhere” at this stage.

The Cubs’ willingness to trade Bryant is a matter of some debate. They still have two more seasons of team control on a player who hit .282 with 31 home runs last season. That should command a hefty asking price. It apparently is, considering the Nationals are so far unwilling to part with one of their best young players in any prospective deal.

Washington, in need of a third baseman after Anthony Rendon’s departure, is waiting on a decision from the top free agent at that position. If he goes elsewhere, they may have to revisit these talks.

Report: Nats reluctant to include Victor Robles in trade talks for Arenado, Bryant

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals would prefer to keep one particular young member of their World Series-winning core.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Thursday that the Nats are reluctant to make outfielder Victor Robles available in trade talks for third basemen Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies and Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.

Washington has a hole to fill at third after All-Star Anthony Rendon signed with the Los Angeles Angels in free agency. But the 22-year-old Robles racked up 17 homers, 65 RBIs, and 28 stolen bases in his first full season in 2019, making him a difficult piece to part with.

While Robles makes more sense as a trade chip than, say, Juan Soto or Carter Kieboom, the Nats have other available options that do not involve parting with their young talent.

Report: Nationals could pursue Kris Bryant trade if they don’t re-sign Anthony Rendon

Kris Bryant

The Washington Nationals may be done making major moves in free agency now that they have signed Stephen Strasburg to a record contract, but the trade market is another story. Depending on how things unfold, they could be a team to watch for superstar third baseman Kris Bryant.

The Nationals have had contact with the Chicago Cubs about a possible Bryant trade, Jon Morosi of reports. Bryant could be a backup option for Washington if they are unable to re-sign Anthony Rendon, who is expected to fetch a massive contract after his MVP-caliber season last year.

We know of at least one team with deep pockets that wants to sign Rendon, so the Nationals may not be able to afford him now that they are paying Strasburg $245 million over seven years. Bryant has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining and is not set to become a free agent until after the 2021 season.

The Cubs would probably need to be blown away by an offer to trade Bryant, but we know they have been discussing the possibility with multiple teams. Washington appears committed to not being a one-and-done team after its surprising World Series season last year, and their interest in Bryant is further proof of that.

Bryant hit .282 with 31 home runs, 77 RBI and an OPS of .903 last year. Rendon was more productive with a .319 average, 34 homers, 126 RBI and a whopping 1.010 OPS, but Bryant would be a nice replacement if the Nationals can’t bring Rendon back.

Report: Cubs, Phillies have discussed Kris Bryant trade

Kris Bryant

Could Kris Bryant be on the move this winter? A new rumor indicates that the Chicago Cubs have, at the very least, not slammed the door shut on the possibility.

According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies have had discussions about a Bryant trade, though discussions have not progressed significantly and nothing appears imminent.

A Bryant trade would be a surprise, but not a total shock. It was rumored that the door might be open on such a deal late in the season, with the Cubs feeling the need to shake things up after a couple years of perceived underachievement and a desire to replenish the team’s farm system. There is also some worry about agent Scott Boras taking Bryant to free agency instead of a potential contract extension.

The Cubs probably aren’t eager to move Bryant, who hit .282 with 31 home runs in 2019. However, this is definitely something worth watching for the remainder of the season.

MLB execs expect at least one superstar to be traded during winter

Mookie Betts

A number of MLB superstars have been mentioned as possible trade targets this offseason, and apparently executives are anticipating that at least one big move will be made on that front before the start of the 2020 season.

Multiple MLB team executives told Jon Morosi of that they expect at least one of Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant or Francisco Lindor to be moved this winter.

Franchises typically build around players like Betts, Bryant and Lindor, all of who were All-Stars last season. However, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are looking to trim payroll this winter, and Betts and Bryant are projected to command massive salaries in arbitration. Betts has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining while Bryant has two. The Red Sox have already admitted that keeping Betts and slugger JD Martinez in 2020 and beyond would be difficult, and Martinez chose not to opt out of his contract.

The Cubs could explore other possibilities for trades to retool under new manager David Ross, and Betts seems more likely to be traded than Bryant.

Cleveland is in a slightly different position. While the Red Sox and Cubs want to trim payroll to remain under the luxury tax, the Indians play in a much smaller market and have never had the payroll of teams like Boston and Chicago. Lindor is not set to hit free agency until after the 2021 season, but owner Paul Dolan already hinted that the team will not be able to keep him for long. We have heard of one team that could pursue Lindor if the Indians decide to move on from the star shortstop.

Kris Bryant leaves game after twisting right ankle on first base

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant left Sunday’s Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game after twisting his right ankle slipping on first base while trying to beat out a double play ball.

Bryant was batting in the bottom of the third of a 1-1 game with Anthony Rizzo on first and one out. He grounded into a double play and tried to lunge to first base. His right foot slipped and he rolled his right ankle. Bryant was in clear pain as he was helped off the field.

Ian Happ replaced Bryant in the lineup.

The Cubs have been without Javy Baez. Rizzo recently returned from a sprained ankle. Cole Hamels is dealing with a shoulder injury. This is just the latest frustration point for a team that is struggling to stay in the NL playoff race.