Kris Bryant’s name has frequented trade rumors this offseason. That doesn’t mean the Cubs will move him, or that they can’t work out an extension with their superstar third baseman.
Tuesday, Bryant’s agent — Scott Boras — said while the focus is on Bryant’s 2020 contract, the two are, “more than willing” to discuss a multi-year contract extension with the Cubs.
Bryant is under contract through 2021, but the Cubs could move him if they feel they won’t be able to reach an agreement on an extension. Trading the 2016 National League MVP would help the Cubs replenish their barren farm system and avoid losing him for nothing when he hits free agency.
But despite the non-stop Bryant rumors, Boras said trades involving superstar players rarely happen, following up on the history lesson he gave at last month’s GM Meetings.
“I think in these markets that you can never, ever anticipate anything other than great players who are close to free agency in one or two years are always bandied about as potentials in the marketplace,” Boras said. “It happens every year. Trades rarely happen. Sometimes they do. You can go back and talk about anyone who is not signed to a multi-year contract that is in that position and is an MVP-type player, they always get that attention.”
There’s also the issue of Bryant’s ongoing service-time grievance. If he wins, he’ll become a free agent after next season rather than after 2021. This would complicate a potential trade, as teams would likely offer the Cubs less for Bryant if he is only under team control for one more season.
Plus, the Cubs don’t get better by trading Bryant, at least not in the immediate future.
“Rarely, core, premium, All-Star, MVP-type players, they’re so valuable to a team,” Boras said. “It’s hard to think how you ever replace them, and so when you get into those levels, historically, it’s normally not something that’s done.”
Multiple options are open when it comes to Bryant at this point. The incessant rumors may say otherwise, but trading him is no foregone conclusion.