Phillies Among Early Contenders for Cubs 3B Kris Bryant

Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals and Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals and Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Two National League East teams, including the Phillies, are reportedly showing ‘exploratory interest’ in the Cubs’ three-time All-Star 3B Kris Bryant.

A three-time All-Star, 2015 National League Rookie of the Year, and 2016 World Series champion and National League MVP.

There is a lot for the Philadelphia Phillies to like about Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who is reportedly on the trade block. And, despite being near the luxury tax threshold, a latest rumor suggestions that may not hinder the Phillies’ interest in exploring for a trade.

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Amid Tuesday night’s MLB trade activity that sent Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bryant is now “on the trade clock,” according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who adds that Phillies and reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals are “showing at least exploratory interest.”

The main reason Bryant is on the trade block likely is due to his dissatisfaction with the Cubs in regards to their handling of his service time.

In mid-January, the Cubs and Bryant avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $18.6 million contract. Last Wednesday, the results of Bryant’s previously filed service time grievance against the Cubs, determining whether he would be under team control through 2020 or 2021, was announced. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Bryant lost his grievance despite claiming the team intentionally held him in the minor leagues early on during his 2015 rookie season to gain an extra year of club control.

Thus, Bryant will not become a free agent until after the 2021 season, which surely changed his value on the trade block.

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While the Phillies and Nationals are showing “exploratory interest,” their division rival Atlanta Braves are reportedly out on the five-year veteran. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, “there is to this point no talk between the Cubs and Braves” regarding a Bryant trade. Nightengale reported last month that the Braves were likely to revisit their Bryant interest after not retaining Josh Donaldson.

Currently, Scott Kingery is slated to be the Phillies’ everyday third baseman until top hitting prospect Alec Bohm is promoted from Triple-A Leigh Valley, which could be as early as the 2020 season.

Acquiring Bryant would transform the Phillies’ lineup to an even higher level, complementing him with his friend, Bryce Harper, and fellow All-Star hopefuls J.T. Realmuto, Didi Gregorius, Rhys Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen, among others.

Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater in just days, and yet it feels like the final Phillies offseason moves have yet to be made.