Phillies rumor: Club in talks for Cubs star Kris Bryant
Could the Phillies add a former MVP to their infield this offseason?
The Phillies and Cubs have had talks about former MVP Kris Bryant, according to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago.
A major hold up in any trade involving Bryant is a grievance being heard over Bryant’s service time, which could determine whether he has one or two years of team control remaining.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) reports that while the grievance is being heard, the Cubs are monitoring the third base market to see where Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson sign, allowing them to target whoever misses out on them this offseason.
Bryant had a bounceback season last year after hitting just 13 home runs in 2018. Making his third All-Star team, Bryant hit 31 home runs with a .282 batting average last season in Chicago. He’s one of the best third basemen in the game, though he’s had at least 10 errors at third base every season of his career.
Bryant is also friends with another former Rookie of the Year and MVP: Bryce Harper.
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If the Cubs can win the grievance, the price for Bryant will be substantially higher, and could force the Phillies to depart with their top prospect, third baseman Alec Bohm. Should the Cubs win, the price tag will be dramatically lower and Philadelphia could have, at worst, a one-year stopgap at third base with Bohm still in hand.
The price tag for Bryant will be high, and Bohm will likely be on the Cubs shopping list as they look to cut money and restock their farm system. Philadelphia’s farm system beyond Bohm is weak, and Philadelphia is unlikely to trade top pitching prospect Spencer Howard given their starting rotation needs.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he expects Bohm will contribute at the big league level in 2020, suggesting the Phillies are only looking for a stopgap at third this offseason. That could be Scott Kingery moving across the diamond, a veteran free agent on a lucrative deal, or a bench player like Todd Frazier filling in for the first two months.
The likelihood of a deal for Bryant getting done is unlikely, but it’s a storyline to watch this offseason.