Add the Arizona Diamondbacks to the trade rumor carousel rotating around Kris Bryant this winter.
With teams like the Nationals, Braves, Dodgers and Rangers already reportedly interested in the Cubs superstar, the D-Backs have also apparently expressed interest, according to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM's John Gambadoro:
Have heard some rumblings of Dbacks at least exploring a Kris Bryant trade. Could then move Escobar to 2B. Bryant makes 18.6 and is under control for this year and next. Just turned 28 he may be better option than Bradley Jr (1 year control) or Marte, who is 31.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) January 14, 2020
Now, framing it as the Diamondbacks simply "exploring the option of trading for Bryant" is not exactly groundbreaking, because why wouldn't a team hoping to contend at least kick the tires on a potential deal to add star talent? Gambadoro's report doesn't position Arizona as a strong suitor right now, but it would make sense for both sides.
As the regular season was winding down last fall, Bleacher Report ranked the Diamondbacks the sixth-best farm system in baseball, with as many as five or six prospects on the Top 100 list.
Arizona's stable of prospects is led by a slew of position players that are likely at least a couple years away from the big leagues (like 19-year-old outfielder Kristian Robinson) and pitcher Corbin Martin, who was a major piece from the Astros in the Zack Greinke trade last July. Martin, 24, would be a premier headliner for a Bryant deal and was named the No. 78 prospect in the game by Baseball America last winter. However, he also just had Tommy John surgery in July, so he will miss a good portion of the 2020 campaign.
As the Cubs try to retool their team on the fly, the Diamondbacks don't have a ton to offer in the way of big-league-ready assets, which could be a major factor if talks between the two teams develop any further.
The Cubs' asking price for Bryant is said to be extremely high (as it should be), so it likely starts with Arizona's 24-year-old pitcher Zac Gallen who sported a 2.81 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in his first big-league season last year (15 starts). From there, the Cubs would probably also ask for one or two players from the top of the prospect group (Martin, Robinson, Seth Beer, Alek Thomas, etc.).
Bryant and the Cubs avoided arbitration by reaching an agreement for an $18.6 million deal last week, but his service time grievance still isn't settled. Once that gets finalized (which is expected to result in two more years of team control before Bryant hits free agency), the Cubs can potentially pull the trigger on their most tradeable asset. It would also behoove the Cubs front office if free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson finally signs and knocks down another domino in the third base market.
It's looking more and more likely the Cubs deal Bryant sometime before the July deadline, as they hope to maximize his trade value and acquire long-term assets to extend their window of contention beyond the 2021 season.