MLB Rumors: Kris Bryant to Receive Cubs Contract Amid Nationals Trade Interest

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2020

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant fields his position during a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The Chicago Cubs will reportedly tender a contract for third baseman Kris Bryant ahead of Wednesday's deadline, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Bryant is heading into his final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent following the 2021 season. If the Cubs chose not to tender an offer, he would have hit the open market a year early.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, his salary is expected to be in the range of $18 million next season.

Per Heyman, there is also plenty of interest in the trade market, including from the Washington Nationals. However, they are reportedly "determined" to keep pitching prospects Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli, their two best prospects in the system, according to MLB.com

The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays are also considered "fits" for Bryant, per Heyman.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, he is unlikely to be traded before Wednesday but "his marketplace is likely to become clearer after that."

The 28-year-old had been a key part to the Cubs success since entering the league, winning the Rookie of the Year in 2015 before winning MVP in 2016. He was a major reason the team won the World Series in 2016, the franchise's first since 1908.

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His production slowed over the next few years, but he bounced back in 2019 with 31 home runs and a .282 batting average while earning his third All-Star selection. 

Things were much worse in 2020 for Bryant, finishing with just a .202 average, .293 on-base percentage and .644 OPS during the shortened season, all career lows. Bryant totaled just four home runs and 11 RBI in 34 games.

Failing to live up to his $18.6 million scheduled salary for the year made him a non-tender candidate this offseason as the Cubs try to shed payroll.

Chicago already declined the $25 million option on Jon Lester but still have several high-priced contracts including for Jason Heyward ($21 million), Yu Darvish ($22 million), Anthony Rizzo ($16.5 million) and Craig Kimbrel ($16 million).

Bryant remains with the organization for now but could still be moved before the start of next season.