Cubs Rumors: Mariners ‘went heavy’ in efforts to pull off Kris Bryant trade

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Once the Chicago Cubs dropped 11 straight games in late June and early July, the writing was on the wall: a fire sale was going to happen – and it was just a matter of to what extent Jed Hoyer was poised to clean house.

One of the biggest moves he made was sending former National League MVP and three-time All-Star Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants. After years of rumors and speculation surrounding Bryant, with just minutes to spare prior to the July 30 trade deadline, it finally happened. He was no longer a Cub.

That deal netted Chicago a pair of prospects in Alexander Canario and Caleb Kilian. But now, a new report brings another potential partner in a Bryant trade to light – and a surprising one, at that: the Seattle Mariners.

Seattle reportedly ‘went heavy’ in their pursuit of Bryant, but obviously came up short. The Mariners outperformed their peripherals right up until the final weekend of the season – but still failed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2001. It’s certainly worth wondering whether or not Bryant’s presence might have made a difference, though.

After joining the Giants, Bryant actually faded compared to what he did in the first half with Chicago, slashing .262/.344/.444. That still netted out to a 113 OPS+ and he brought his signature  defensive versatility, appearing in action all over the diamond in both the regular season and postseason for San Francisco.

Now, set to test the waters of free agency for the first time in his career, Bryant will enjoy numerous suitors for his services. He’s made it well known that he’s open to returning to the Giants on a long-term deal, but whether or not that’s a direction the team wants to go remains to be seen. But with Seattle focused almost exclusively on guys with positional versatility, it’s definitely worth wondering if the Mariners circle back to Bryant this offseason.

Chicago Cubs Rumors: Will Mariners make a run at Kris Bryant in free agency?

As I said. There won’t be any shortage of interest in Bryant this winter. San Francisco makes sense – and you can easily envision scenarios where teams like the Dodgers, Mets and Red Sox could take a look. Given the number of large market clubs likely to pursue the former Rookie of the Year, Seattle will face stiff competition if they go all-in on him.

The Mariners have the financial flexibility to pull it off – there’s no questions there. The front office parted ways with Kyle Seager this week, saving themselves a good chunk of change in the process. Their core and prospect mix is certainly enticing, so they could start pushing their chips in as early as this winter.

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As we’ve said before. Bryant is not coming back to Chicago (if you haven’t already, come to terms with it). Watching teams jockeying for position in their pursuit of him though will still be one of the more interesting storylines for Cubs fans this winter.