Kris Bryant has been a popular subject of conjecture this offseason, which was expected when he was reportedly made available by the Cubs. The market for Bryant should theoretically be very robust given his decorated career to this point, but no deal has been reached as Spring Training is now less than a month away. Bryant remaining with the Cubs to begin the season should probably be expected, though one major hurdle in a potential trade was alleviated on Wednesday.
The Cubs famously manipulated service time for Bryant in 2015, when the young star was clearly ready for the major leagues on Opening Day but was sent down to the minor leagues until after the club had gained an additional full year of control. The transparency of the entire ordeal was a source of criticism for the Cubs, and Bryant was obviously not pleased with the result. The Player’s Association filed a grievance against the Cubs in 2015, which was not ruled upon until Wednesday. Unsurprisingly, the Cubs were exonerated as they broke no rules by keeping Bryant down for service time purposes.
This obviously affects the Cubs greatly, as having two more years of control over Bryant is preferable for Chicago, but also for any team looking to acquire the former MVP. The Braves have been a popular destination in hypothetical trades involving Bryant, and may be even more inclined to acquire his services with two years of control. The extra year will undoubtedly raise the price tag for the Braves or any other team, but may be enough incentive to push a deal forward if the Cubs genuinely intend to trade Bryant. Stay tuned as the Braves look to put the finishing touches on what projects to be a very competitive.
As noted above, acquiring Bryant will be costly, but makes a lot of sense for the Braves. Shawn delves into what a Bryant trade would mean and why it would benefit Atlanta.
The Braves check in as the top-ranked outfield in the division heading into the 2020, with Ronald Acuna, Marcell Ozuna, and some combination of Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall, and Nick Markakis.
The Talking Chop staff grades the offseason.
Dusty Baker feels like a relatively safe choice as manager of the Astros given their volatility.
For some reason the Padres seem very motivated to mortgage a significant part of their future for one year of Mookie Betts. Hopefully all their medical records are up to date.
The Braves make multiple appearances on this list, with Bryant and Nolan Arenado noted as possible Atlanta targets.