With about three weeks to go before the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline, the Cubs have reportedly decided to become sellers, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
This could mean that a number of their star players on expiring contracts, including Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez could be on the move. For the Nationals, Bryant represents a premier target at a position of need and he's not the only third baseman that could be on the move before the deadline.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
If he's indeed available, Bryant would be the top third baseman on the market for teams looking to buy. The 29-year-old former MVP is having a solid season with the Cubs, hitting .268/.349/.498 to go along with 16 home runs and 43 RBI. He's been the only consistent source of production for the Cubs this year and would give the Nats some much-needed stability in the hot corner.
Another thing to consider with Bryant is his free agency this winter. He's in the last year of his contract and whoever trades for him will need to consider the possibility of re-signing him to a long-term deal. That reality could impact what the Cubs potentially demand in return for the four-time All-Star.
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins
The Nationals were linked to Donaldson in free agency following the 2019 season before he signed a four-year, $92 million deal with the Twins. After a rough 2020 campaign, the 35-year-old is off to a better start in 2021. He's hit 13 home runs, has a .830 OPS and could give the Nats some more pop in their lineup.
After this season Donaldson is still owed $42 million over the next two seasons, not including a $16 million club option in 2024. If the Nats traded for him, they'd likely be committing to 36 and 37-year-old Donaldson as well.
Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks
Escobar is another productive third baseman in the last year of his contract, and he's one that likely won't cost as much to acquire as someone like Bryant. Escobar made his first All-Star team this season, and he earned the selection by way of the long ball. He has 19 homers already this season and is on pace to pass his previous career-high of 35 he hit in 2019.
Washington found success moving Kyle Schwarber up to the leadoff spot in front of Juan Soto and Trea Turner. Escobar provides that kind of lineup versatility and could give Davey Martinez another power threat to place around his two best hitters.
Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
Seager has been a steady power threat over the last decade and is nearing the end of his contract with Seattle. He makes $18 million this year and will have a $15 million player option next season if he's traded.
Seager isn't one to hit for average or get on base, but he always hits a bunch of homers. He has 16 already this season.