The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the teams that have been mentioned as a possible suitor if the Chicago Cubs trade star third baseman Kris Bryant, but Bryce Harper does not seem as giddy about the idea as you might expect him to be.
Harper and Bryant both grew up in Las Vegas and played with and against each other as kids. They’ve been friends for a long time, so naturally Harper was asked what he thinks about the rumors that Bryant may be traded to Philly. Harper expressed some concerns about the financial ramifications of it and spoke highly of Phillies third base prospect Alec Bohm.
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) February 16, 2020
Harper is right, and his rationale explains why a Bryant trade to Philly is very unlikely. Bryant will make more than $18 million this season and likely much more than that in his final year of arbitration eligibility in 2021, then he’ll be in line for a massive free agent contract. The Phillies are already paying Harper $26 million per year, and there are only so many of those contracts a team can carry.
If Bohm is as good as advertised, it doesn’t make much sense for the Phillies to acquire Bryant. There are other teams interested in the Cubs star that are probably more likely to land him.
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.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 5, 2020
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.
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 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 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.
Kris Bryant has the flu and may make a very brief opening ceremonies appearance, but that looks to be the extent of his participation this weekend.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) January 17, 2020
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.
Because it makes so much sense to fly all the way to Chicago to fake the flu. Not to mention leaving his pregnant wife who also has the flu at home because he truly loves being at the convention every year. But yep totally faking it
— Jessica Bryant (@Jess__bryant) January 18, 2020
Bryant did make an appearance at the opening ceremonies and received a huge applause.
— Krista Ruch (@KristaCBS2) January 18, 2020
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.
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.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 4, 2020
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.
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.