The Nationals decided against a sending a trade package that would’ve included some combination of prospects Carter Kieboom, Luis Garcia and Jackson Rutledge to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for third baseman Kris Bryant, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Thursday.
Nats are giving top prospect Carter Kieboom a shot to replace a Rendon at 3B. No current talks on Bryant. Cubs wanted either Robles or some combo of RHP Rutledge, SS Garcia and Kieboom. Not an unreasonable ask but considering price (tax) and potential ultimately decided no.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 20, 2020
On Friday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters “we’re not looking to make a trade” and reiterated that Kieboom would be given every opportunity to earn the starting job at third base out of spring training. Asdrúbal Cabrera is getting reps with him at third as well in case the 21-year-old doesn’t prove ready to handle the position at the major-league level.
It was reported in January that the Nationals were “reluctant” to include Victor Robles in trade talks with the Cubs for Bryant and Colorado Rockies for Nolan Arenado. (Heyman also reported Thursday that the Nationals “never inquired on Arenado.”) But after balking at the Cubs’ request to include their young centerfielder, the Nationals also declined to part ways with any of their top prospects.
Acquiring Bryant would’ve made Kieboom expendable, so the holdup was likely the inclusion of either Garcia or Rutledge in the deal. Garcia, 19, is a fringe top-100 prospect who’s played both shortstop and second base as he’s moved up through the Nationals’ system. Washington drafted Rutledge, a right-handed pitcher, 17th overall last June out of junior college.
The fact that the Nationals were unwilling to part ways with either of those players speaks to how highly the organization views them despite neither being considered consensus top-100 prospects.
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