Olney says his sources told him that the Cubs “have indicated to other teams they are willing to discuss trade proposals for almost all of the players on their roster, including Bryant,” and might trade him “perhaps as soon as this winter.” Bryant is coming off a down season (.272/.374/.460 slash line with 13 homers in 102 games) during an injury-plagued 2018 in which he hit the disabled list twice with left shoulder injuries.
In addition, Olney said the Cubs tried to make a long-term deal with Bryant multiple times, but those “efforts” have not progressed. And with Bryant only three years away from becoming a free agent, his price tag may become too expensive for the Cubs to afford. According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Bryant will likely get a salary of $12.4 million in arbitration.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said at the GM meetings that the organization is always open to the idea of dealing players like Bryant and even first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who are part of the young core that helped the franchise win a World Series in 2016.
“We’ve never operated with untouchables,” he said. “It sends the wrong message. Given what we’re trying to accomplish, it would be virtually impossible to envision the deal that would make sense to move them. I just don’t believe in untouchables. Why limit yourself?”
Olney added that Epstein had previously mentioned about the need for the Cubs to beef up their farm system. If that is the case, trading Bryant could bring in a massive haul of young players with years of control who can help Chicago compete now and in the future.
In just four years, Bryant has slashed .285/.385/.515 with 107 home runs, 326 RBI and 21.6 WAR in 559 games. Bryant’s best season was in 2016, when he hit 39 homers and drove in 102 runs while putting together a .292/.385/.556 slash line and leading the Cubs to their first World Series crown since 1908.