With the Chicago Cubs struggling to play at a consistently high level this season, a new report is out that a “monster” name could potentially be involved in trade talks over the offseason.
That name, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, is third baseman Kris Bryant, who will be under team control for two more seasons after the current season ends. Bryant, along with Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts and Indians slugger Francisco Lindor, were mentioned by Passan as possible names that teams could inquire about over the offseason:
“A not-uncommon feeling inside the Cubs’ organization is the need for a big shakeup. With Javier Báez a reasonable bet to stick around, and Bryant a Boras client more prone to testing free agency, the Cubs may see him as a combination of Lindor and Betts: a star with two years of control primed to hold out for free agency but capable beforehand of enriching a farm system in desperate need of help after years of dealing away its most valuable pieces.”
To break down Passan’s meaning, there have been rumblings that the Cubs could be looking at a bit of a re-tooling as they struggle in the 2019 season. They’re still well within shouting distance of their fifth straight playoff spot, but with Joe Maddon a free agent at season’s end and some money coming off the books in the form of Brandon Morrow, Cole Hamels, and Ben Zobrist, the Cubs could potentially be active in free agency as they look to address holes in their roster.
Adding to that, the Cubs may not feel confident that Bryant, whose agent is Scott Boras, would agree to a lucrative contract extension before he becomes a free agent after the 2021 season.
If the Cubs feel they could lose Bryant for nothing, they may jump the gun on that free agency period, trading Bryant for a boatload of prospects, and then potentially turning to a player like Anthony Rendon to come in and play third base next season.
Of course, players like Bryant are hard to replace, and the Cubs would have to truly land a spectacular crop of prospects and MLB ready players to even consider such a deal, and there aren’t that many teams who are capable of putting such a package together.
Theo Epstein and company have always said that they are willing to listen on trade offers for anybody, so there’s definitely a possibility they would at least listen to offers on Bryant, no matter how unlikely it is that they would move him after the season ends.