Chicago Cubs: Think twice before you trade Kris Bryant this offseason
Well, we can check one box off in the offseason of Kris Bryant. The Cubs and Bryant avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a one-year, $18.6 million contract for 2020 ahead of Friday’s deadline. Now, we all anxiously await a resolution to his service time grievance.
Said grievance has loomed over Theo Epstein and the front office the entire offseason, preventing them from trading Bryant and potentially unloading the payroll that would get the team under the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold. While it’s widely expected Bryant will lose the grievance, a team isn’t about to gamble on that outcome – which has stopped the team in its tracks.
Despite finishing third in the National League Central last season – winning just 84 games – the Cubs are one of two big league teams that are yet to sign a player to a Major League contract this winter. (The other being the Colorado Rockies). They’ve lost several significant pieces, including Cole Hamels, Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, Nicholas Castellanos and Ben Zobrist.
The team reportedly plans to compete in 2020. But with the Cardinals potentially focused on adding Nolan Arenado to the mix and the Cincinnati Reds turning in their best offseason in years, that’s a tall task – one that’s likely easier completed with Bryant in tow.