There has been much news about the Cubs possibly trading third baseman Kris Bryant, who will earn nearly $19 million this season, but reportedly turned away from a $200 million contract with the Cubs. So where will Bryant likely end up? NL East contenders are in the running, while Bryant believes he’ll end up back in Chicago.
In Philadelphia, the Phillies have been active this offseason with the signing of Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorious. Bryant clearly fills the Phillies third base needs and would add to the middle of the order with Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. The problem with seriously pursuing Bryant is that it would put the Phillies above the luxury tax. It makes sense for the Cubs to request Phillies top prospect Alec Bohm in the deal to take over third base when he’s ready.
Defending World Series champions Washington Nationals have shown at least some interest in Bryant since losing Anthony Rendon via free agency. The problem is that the Nationals have very little to offer in a trade, with Victor Robles and perhaps prospect Carter Kieboom the only attractive pieces for the Cubs. It’s unlikely the Nationals are willing to trade either, making obtaining Bryant more than a longshot.
With Josh Donaldson now in a Minnesota Twins uniform, the Braves has a hole to fill at the hot corner. The problem is that after signing Marcell Ozuna, the Braves are very thin in terms of ability to pay for Bryant. One thing in their favor is an extremely deep level of talent in the minor leagues, making it possible to offer the Cubs an attractive package come the trade deadline.
When all is said and done, Bryant indicated in his meetings with Cubs team president Theo Epstein, that he’s confident he’ll remain in Chicago, not only at the start of the season, but past the trade deadline. Epstein indicated that the team is focusing more on preparing for the season than making any big moves, which is a good sign for Bryant, at least to the near future.