Chicago Cubs infielder Kris Bryant has been the subject of trade rumors for several years, but with free agency looming at the end of the season and the team well out of the pennant race, the end may be coming sooner rather than later for one of the club’s cornerstone pieces.
According to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Bryant is “as good as gone,” and he is likely the biggest name on the market “who is almost certain to get dealt” prior to the July 30 MLB trade deadline.
“(He is) the biggest name who is almost certain to get dealt, and his versatility makes him awfully attractive to a number of teams that are adding," Passan reported.
Bryant won National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, then followed it up with an MVP award and a World Series title in 2016. Not too long after that, he began to be the focus of trade rumors on an annual basis, mainly because of the Cubs’ manipulation of his service time before his 2015 rookie season and partly because he is represented by an agent in Scott Boras who rarely has clients sign long-term deals with their teams prior to hitting free agency for the first time.
Bryant is almost certainly going to get a large payday in the offseason, and with the Cubs likely unwilling (or unable) to pony up the amount that he will seek, it would stand to reason that he would be dealt prior to the deadline.
What’s less clear is the future of other players on the team. Both Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez are set to become free agents at season’s end, but reports have indicated that the team will gauge the interest of both players in inking contract extensions prior to making any moves.
Players like Kyle Hendricks, who is on a team-friendly deal for several seasons, and Willson Contreras, who is a free agent at the end of next season, could also be on the block, but if the Cubs are intent on rebuilding their roster quickly, it might not make sense to trade away players who could still be with the team during their next window of contention.