Cubs

Cubs Talk Podcast: Goodbye Addison Russell

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Goodbye Addison Russell

On this edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Tony Andracki, and Jeff Nelson discuss the end of the Addison Russell era, how the Reds may now be the favorites in the NL Central, and where Cole Hamels may pitch in 2020.

01:00 Should the Cubs have gotten rid of Addison Russell a year ago?

06:00 Javy Baez took his game to the next level while filling in for Russell

07:30 Any chance Kris Bryant gets moved this offseason?

11:00 Could Cole Hamels be pitching on the other side of town next year?

15:30 Are the Reds now the favorite in the NL Central?

19:00 Changes in the Cubs coaching staff

Listen to the full podcast in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Cubs and Rockies have reportedly discussed a 1-for-1 Kris Bryant-Nolan Arenado trade

Cubs and Rockies have reportedly discussed a 1-for-1 Kris Bryant-Nolan Arenado trade

The dust is beginning to settle Wednesday following news that third baseman Kris Bryant lost his service time grievance case against the Cubs. The case argued the Cubs purposely kept Bryant in the minor leagues to open the 2015 season to gain an extra year of control on his contract.

Bryant will remain under team control through 2021, rather than see his free agency get pushed up to next offseason. However, the outcome doesn’t end the saga; the Cubs could still move Bryant to gain young assets with an eye towards long-term sustainability.

During an appearance on NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan’s “Kap and Co." Wednesday, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported the Cubs and Rockies have discussed a 1-for-1 deal involving Bryant and Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado. Rogers added Colorado would pick up salary in such a deal. 

Oh my.

The Cubs have been linked to Arenado multiple times over the past month, but the logistics of a deal would be tricky. Arenado, who signed a lucrative extension last February, is owed $234 through 2026 — including $35 million annually through 2024.

All of the Cubs roster moves this winter have been budget-driven, as the club is looking to remain under the luxury tax threshold. Adding Arenado’s salary would put the Cubs well into the red. Even if Colorado picked up salary, the Cubs would have to shed money through another trade, if they truly wish to remain under the threshold.

Arenado told MLB.com on Jan. 21 “There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of. You can quote that.” The comments came after Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich put trade talks involving the superstar to bed.

The Cubs’ motivation in this hypothetical would be cost certainty. Trading Bryant would ensure they don’t lose him for nothing — should he depart in free agency in two years — if they feel they won’t be able to extend him.

However, Arenado has an opt-out in his deal after 2021, so the Cubs could face the same fate if they acquired him.

Worth noting: ESPN’s Jeff Passan told Kaplan multiple times Wednesday Arenado would love to be a Cub. Rogers also opined he believes Bryant will be dealt, but not for Arenado.

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks, and it feels like the grievance outcome is only the start of what’s to come for the North Siders.

Kris Bryant reportedly believes Cubs 'openly lied' during arbitration hearing

Kris Bryant reportedly believes Cubs 'openly lied' during arbitration hearing

There’s a reason why teams try to settle with players before going to arbitration. It’s a messy process that doesn’t necessarily involve being friendly to the other side.

The resulting tension from having to argue against your own player is something the Cubs are apparently dealing with in the aftermath of the Kris Bryant service-time grievance. Bryant lost the case and, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, does not sound happy with his organization.

The basis of Bryant’s case was that the Cubs were deliberate in keeping him in the minors longer just so they could have an extra year of contract control. That’s not starting from a point of good intentions.

Nightengale is reporting that the Cubs “lied to him.” Bryant “feels unwanted, underappreciated, and believes the organization openly lied during the arbitration hearing.”

In reality, none of this should be surprising. If Bryant didn’t feel like he had been wronged, he wouldn’t have filed the grievance in the first place. Once at the hearing, the sides are literally arguing against each other, which can easily lead to more contention.

Bryant may have already been on his way out of Chicago, whether via trade or eventual free agency. But reports that the former MVP is unhappy with the Cubs won’t help their chances of re-signing him.

What it does perhaps change is the Cubs' urgency to trade Bryant. Bringing back an unhappy player may not be the best way to move forward. It could hurt the market for Bryant because teams will know the Cubs are motivated to trade him. The Cubs, however, don’t necessarily need more leverage in trade talks. Multiple suitors should provide plenty of that, competing with each other to get the winning bid.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has a contradictory report, with a source claiming there is "no ill will whatsoever" between Bryant and the Cubs.

The Bryant grievance case has been viewed as the key starting point for the Cubs' offseason, and it does look like the stage is now set.

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