The Kris Bryant trade whispers come with an asterisk, but the whispers are starting all the same.
A Bryant trade from the Cubs will not come at the winter meetings as they await to find out the result of the third baseman’s service time grievance. If Bryant and agent Scott Boras are victorious in proving the Cubs manipulated his service time in 2015 then the slugging infielder would become a free agent after next season.
A decision from an arbitrator is not expected for a couple of weeks, but when there is one we are getting an early indication as to who might be interested in acquiring him if Chicago opts to deal him.
“We’re fairly confident in what the outcome is going to be but the timing is a bit frustrating,” Cubs president Theo Epstein told ESPN.com. “It would be nice to know. We’re at the winter meetings and there hasn’t been a ruling. I understand these things take time. It’s not going to be more than a couple weeks away but it would be nice to have that final confirmation.”
The Nationals (via MLB.com) and Phillies (via WSCR) have both been linked to the 27-year-old, who has 138 career home runs in the better part of five seasons with the Cubs. The MLB report indicated that there is a better chance of the Cubs trading Bryant than the Indians trading Francisco Lindor.
The Nationals agreed with pitcher Stephen Strasburg on a seven-year, $245 million deal on Monday, but are not expected to bring back third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Rendon is the top position player in free agency and The Post’s Joel Sherman reported on Monday that the Rangers are a slight favorite to sign him. The Angels and Dodgers have also been linked to him.
The Phillies have already added Zach Wheeler this offseason, but more moves are expected after last offseason’s Bryce Harper commitment.
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