Hey, cool, a new Kris Bryant rumor. The Braves have been the primary team coming up in conversations lately, with the Nationals, Rangers, and Dodgers also in the mix of possible interested parties. Add the Phillies to that mix, as 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine tweets that they’ve talked with the Cubs about the former MVP.
Cubs have had talks with Phils on Bryant . Nothing there at the moment. Service time grievance still an issue .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 9, 2019
Just to make sure we’re covering all the potential bases, Levine could just be saying that Theo Epstein had a conversation with Phils Rogers and Rosenthal. There are probably dozens of other reporters out San Diego named Phil, so the possibilities are nigh limitless.
With the Nationals retaining Stephen Strasburg and the Braves adding two of the top relievers on the market, we can probably rest assured that it is indeed the Phillies. They almost certainly want to add a little offense to their earlier pickup of Zack Wheeler, especially if they’ve still got stupid money to spend. This would also fulfill the whole “back to back one day” from that Bryce Harper IG post a couple years ago, so there’s that.
As Levine notes, any talks are contingent upon a decision in Bryant’s grievance, which has dragged on for an unnecessarily long time. I’ll go on record yet again as saying that I’m against trading Bryant and that doing so more than likely won’t make the Cubs better over the next two seasons. So what might that say about their motivation to move the slugging third baseman?
With the Cubs already projected to exceed the $208 competitive balance tax threshold and Bryant looking at something like $19 million in arbitration for 2020, payroll is almost certainly a factor. That was central to an oddball proposal from Joel Sherman that had Bryant bundled with Jason Heyward in what amounted to a payroll dump. Wait, that one also involved the Phillies.
Chatter of the Cubs packaging Bryant or Willson Contreras with Heyward to offset the right fielder’s salary was making the social media rounds Monday afternoon, but it seemed too ridiculous to entertain. It still does, actually, so let’s not do it until such time as we’re forced to. For now, chalk this up to just about every team with a desire to upgrade at third base engaging in talks with the Cubs.