By now everybody in the baseball world has heard the Kris Bryant trade rumors, but not a lot of people seem to understand what is going on. Bryant filed a grievance against the Cubs due to his service time. It’s no secret teams hold players in the minors such as Mike Trout, George Springer, and many more. It may be shady by teams, but it’s completely legal within the current collective bargaining agreement. Currently, the Cubs have two years of team control left on Bryant’s contract, but if he wins his grievance, they will only have one year. It’s an unfortunate situation for both the Cubs and Bryant but as the Cubs did not actually break any rules it is unlikely Bryant wins.
There are three options after the outcome is announced hopefully early January 2020. First, they can look to trade him, second, both parties can shift focus on an extension, or the third, let Bryant play out his contract and walk when it’s up.
Bryant’s trade value all depends on his grievance works out. If he wins, whoever trades for him will only have one season before he hits the open market. If he loses, the team will get two years of control and increase his trade value tremendously. Bryant’s interest will come from many teams, The Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington Nationals seem like the most likely players for Bryant’s services.
All signs have been pointing to the Braves, they are young and eager to contend with their young core. The Braves have a strong farm that the Cubs have been very interested in. Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright stand out most, being ranked third and fourth in the Braves system respectively. Just one wouldn’t get a deal done and the Braves shouldn’t send both. A few more players the Cubs could look to get are outfielders Cristian Pache, the Braves’ #1 prospect, as well as Drew Waiters, their #2 prospect, and Trey Harris, their eleventh ranked prospect. They are all good options.
Bryant would likely love to be with the Phillies and reunite with his High School teammate and best friend, Bryce Harper. As of now, the Phillies are weak at third base, with Scott Kingery manning the hot corner. The Cubs could use the Phillies to fill the holes left by Addison Russell and possibly Nicholas Castellano by getting Jean Segura. Adding Segura would add a strong defender that could leadoff and play either shortstop or second base. The Cubs would call for a top prospect from the Phillies and any other team looking for Bryant. Spencer Howard, their #2 ranked prospect in their system, and Adonis Medina, the #4 ranked prospect in their system, seem to be the best fits for the Cubs. They are both right-handed pitchers and it is no secret the Cubs need pitching.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are always players in everything, whether it’s trades, free agents, and the playoffs. They can never make it over the hump though. Another big bat would do wonders for the Dodgers and Bryant is the man to do it, he knows what it takes to win. The Dodgers have a few top prospects, Gavin Lux a strong middle infielder, ranked first their system, Dustin May, the hard-throwing right-hander ranked at number two, and Josiah Gray, their fourth-ranked prospect and second-ranked pitching prospect. Any of those three would be a great starting point in trade talks.
Washington Nationals fresh off their first World Series victory, and also, fresh off losing their third baseman, Anthony Rendon. This move makes perfect sense for the Nationals, also a slight slap in the face to their former star Bryce Harper by bringing in his best friend. The Nationals also have a few pieces that may intrigue the Cubs, such as their number one prospect Carter Kieboom, who is ready to make an impact at the big-league level. Jackson Rutledge, Will Crowe, Mason Denaburg, and Time Cate, all four are pitchers ranked #3, #4, #5, and #6 in the Nationals’ system.
All the trades will have different implications: players available, time left on Bryant’s deal, and how free agency works itself out. Josh Donaldson is still available and any team that signs him will be out of the running for Kris Bryant.
If Bryant wins his grievance both parties may investigate the extension option. Although the Cubs are in a cap crunch, they can work on a small deal and when that expires give him a big contract. Worst case scenario, if the Cubs can’t trade Bryant and neither side can come to an agreement, he walks. This isn’t actually a terrible option. They have David Bote at third base, so they won’t need to find a replacement. It will also free up cap space to resign Javy Baez, Wilson Contreras, and Anthony Rizzo. Bryant came to Chicago won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and most importantly a World Series. Fans can’t ask for much more out of a player.
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