Two reported transactions Tuesday may not have drawn much attention from Cubs fans, but both directly impact the North Siders.
First, The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya reported the Angels are trading third baseman Zack Cozart to the Giants for cash and a player to be named later. Soon thereafter, free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius agreed to a one-year deal with the Phillies, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported.
The Angels have traded Zack Cozart and Will Wilson to the Giants for cash and a PBTNL, source tells The Athletic.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 10, 2019
#Phillies are in agreement with Didi Gregorius— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 10, 2019
From a Cubs perspective, the Angels' and Phillies' moves impact a potential Kris Bryant trade market. According to Ardaya, the Giants are picking up the remaining $12.67 million on Cozart’s deal. This clears payroll space for Los Angeles to make a run at a superstar free agent, like third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson.
Source on the Angels and Arte Moreno: “Arte is prepared to go in.” https://t.co/yBuofvNGkp— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 10, 2019
The Phillies inquired with the Cubs regarding a potential Bryant trade, according to multiple reports. However, Bryant’s unresolved grievance case is a holdup in any trade talks, should the Cubs entertain offers. If he wins, he'll become a free agent next winter. If he loses, he'll remain under team control through 2021.
Gregorius will slot into shortstop for Philadelphia, while incumbent Jean Segura will move to second base, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury. The Phillies are less likely to pursue Bryant — should the Cubs shop him — than they were entering Tuesday. Things can change, but they have less of an infield need as they did on Monday.
Heard Gregorius chose Phillies over Giants and Brewers. Playing for Girardi again was big factor in decision.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 11, 2019
Segura has played second base before. That is likely landing spot for him with Kingery at third, but Phils will consider all options in spring training.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius is in agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies on a deal, as @joelsherman1 reported. There was plenty of interest in Gregorius, but the Phillies landed him instead of pursuing an infielder in the trade market.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 10, 2019
On the other hand, the Angels and new manager Joe Maddon suddenly could be a candidate to pursue Bryant. Acquiring him would bring less certainty than Rendon or Donaldson, as Bryant is only under contract for two seasons more, max. Furthermore, acquiring Bryant will cost the Angels prospect capital, while adding Rendon and Donaldson will 'only' entail paying them handsomely as free agents.
In short, Philadelphia is less likely to pursue Bryant than they were entering Tuesday; the possibility of the Angels doing so is stronger than it was entering the day. The Angels haven't been directly connected to Bryant at this point, but that now could change.