After numerous rumors last winter, the Nationals are again connected to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported Friday the Nationals are “considering a trade” for Bryant.
The Nationals were linked as a potential suitor for Bryant on the trade market last winter after their own third baseman, Anthony Rendon, left for the Angels in free agency. Washington top prospect Carter Kieboom and Asdrúbal Cabrera received a bulk of Washington’s starts at third in 2020.
Washington struggled to replace Rendon’s production in 2020 — their third basemen posted a combined .204/.325/.250 slash line. Kieboom, 23, started 30 games at third, hitting just .202/.344/.212 in 33 total games in his first extended big league look. Cabrera started 17 games there.
Bryant had a tough 2020 season at the plate, posting career lows across his slash line (.206/.293/.351) and OPS+ (73) in the shortened season. But he has a good track record as one of the game’s best third baseman. Besides the MVP on his mantle, he’s a former Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star.
Bryant was an All-Star as recently 2019, when he slashed .282/.382/.521, hitting 31 home runs. Plus, he only played in 34 games during the strange, shortened 2020 season, missing time with elbow, oblique and left wrist/finger ailments. He’s a good bet to bounce back in 2021.
However, next season is Bryant’s final year of club control, and of Cubs core players in that same position (Javy Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber) Bryant carries the highest projected salary.
The Cubs experienced revenue losses during the pandemic season and are looking to retool this winter. If a move were to happen anytime soon, it could be the first of several involving core players.