Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. A Chicago Cubs player reunites with former teammates on the Washington Nationals. If the latest Kris Bryant rumors are to believed, we could see this play out yet again by the time we turn the calendar to August.
Bryant teaming up with Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester and Dave Martinez’s Washington Nationals? The possibility exists, to be sure – especially given the fact Starlin Castro has been placed on administrative leave due to a reported domestic violence incident. If they lose Castro for the year, Washington will need to do something to add the depth, versatility and experience that any team needs to make a push. The question, then, becomes: how aggressive will the Nationals be?
In my opinion, the tweet above says it all. The Nationals aren’t a team that just cashes it in and waits till next year. Team general manager Mike Rizzo isn’t about that life – especially after his team came roaring back in the second half two years ago to win a World Series title.
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While Washington wants to make another push to October, I believe this is a simple a matter of the organization doing its due diligence. With other teams in the mix and Washington being unwilling to part with top prospects Cade Cavalli or Jackson Rutledge, I am unsure the Nationals will be able to match some of the offers Chicago could get for the former NL MVP.
Chicago Cubs: Putting together a Kris Bryant trade with the Nationals
Taking a look at the Nationals’ remaining prospects, do the Cubs want to take a chance on Carter Kieboom? In 44 big league games the former top prospect who was thought to have sky-high potential has only slashed .180/.311/.230 and a -0.6 WAR.
If the Nationals wanted to get interesting, they could offer up Cole Henry, their #3 prospect according to MLB.com. Henry, currently in High-A, is currently sitting on an ERA right at 3.00 with 35 punchouts in 24 innings pitched. Not bad, but it would likely be at least two full years until he’s ready for big league action. He is another one of those good potential pieces similar to what we saw with Bryce Ball in the Joc Pederson trade. However, the price tag for Bryant is likely much higher than just a prospect of this caliber.
Cavalli, the Nationals #1 prospect and MLB.com’s #77 overall talent, seems to have more promise. Recently promoted to Double-A, though a small sample size, he is 0-2 with a 3.80 ERA with an impressive 13.5 K/9 nonetheless. In High-A ball, he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.77 ERA with a 15.7 K/9 in 40 2/3 innings pitched.
The other guy Heyman noted Washington wants no part of trading is Rutledge, their number two prospect, who stands an imposing 6’8″ and 240 pounds who has been roughed up to the tune of 18 earned runs in just 14 1/3 innings of work this year. I personally am steering clear until I see improvement here.
Any way you work it, if the Nats are unwilling to give up their top prospects, it seems there won’t be enough middle ground to find a deal here. You’re either offering too much or too little if you’re Washington.
Kieboom and Henry could be an interesting offer if you think you can help Kieboom turn it around. However, given the fact that the Nats currently have a 2.8 percent chance to make the playoffs, I doubt they will be as aggressive for Bryant’s services as other teams with a much stronger chance to contend this year.