Recent talks between the Cubs and Nationals regarding Kris Bryant have “gone nowhere,” reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (via Twitter). Negotiations seemed to hit an impasse a few weeks ago, when the Cubs reportedly insisted upon the inclusion of promising center fielder Víctor Robles in any Bryant deal.
Notably, Washington has agreed to terms with Asdrúbal Cabrera on a one-year deal since Rosenthal’s report. Perhaps that takes them out of the running for Bryant or Nolan Arenado, two of the top trade candidates on the market, regardless. Cabrera, though, wouldn’t figure to stand in the way of an acquisition of a player as good as Bryant or Arenado. Indeed, Washington still doesn’t seem to be entirely ruling out a signing of star free agent Josh Donaldson. There’s yet opportunity to circle back to more eye-catching names than Cabrera and Starlin Castro, who the Nationals brought aboard yesterday.
Understandably, the Cubs seem to be setting a high price in talks on Bryant. Interested suitors, meanwhile, are wary of Bryant’s service time grievance. At the moment, the 28-year-old has two years of team control remaining. His $18.5MM projected salary is notable but still an unquestionable bargain for a player of his caliber. If Bryant wins the grievance, however (an outcome that would be unexpected but hardly impossible), he’d reach free agency at the end of next season instead. In that case, he would still be a highly appealing trade chip, but his value would no doubt take a hit. Thus, Bryant seems likely to stay put until the grievance is resolved.
Either way, it doesn’t appear Bryant will be headed to the nation’s capital, barring an unforeseen reignition of talks. Teams who lose out on Donaldson and Arenado would figure to be Bryant’s most ardent pursuers. The Braves, Rangers, and Twins have been among the most active searchers for upgrades at the hot corner. Of course, there’s no urgent need for the Cubs to trade Bryant, who, despite the pending grievance, might still be amenable to working out a long-term deal.