Chicago Cubs: Team has reportedly requested players for Kris Bryant

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly requested three of four players from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Kris Bryant. What would the return look like?

While the Chicago Cubs wait to hear the results of Kris Bryant‘s grievance hearing, it doesn’t appear they are letting that prevent them from potentially moving him. Paul Crane, of 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, is reporting that the Cubs have requested three of four players from Ian Anderson, Austin Riley, Drew Waters, and Kyle Wright.

Crane is part of the Falcons Radio Network, so the rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the rumors have been swirling regarding the Cubs potentially trading Bryant this offseason after reports surfaced that he turned down a $200 million extension during the 2018 season.  The Braves remain interested in retaining Josh Donaldson, but he’s drawing interest from a handful of other teams as well.

So if a trade were to be worked out, what would the Cubs be getting in return?

Anderson was the third overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft and is ranked as the 31st best prospect and 9th best pitching prospect in baseball. His fastball consistently sits in the high 90s but has the propensity to walk a few batters. Still, there’s a lot to like about his 172 strikeouts in 135.2 innings last season, while allowing batters to hit just .210 off him. He’s projected to be part of a big-league rotation next year. If you recall, we had Anderson coming over in one of the trade packages for Bryant.

Waters, 20, was a second-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and displays excellent power from both sides of the plate. He’s ranked as the 23rd best prospect and 6th best outfield prospect in the game and can play all three outfield positions. Across two minor league levels last season, Waters slashed .309/.360/.459 with 7 home runs and 52 RBI. He did strike out 164 times in 527 AB’s (31 percent), but that is not uncommon with young hitters.

Riley was selected in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft and played 80 games last year with the big league club. The 22-year-old slashed .226/.279/.471 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI but struck out in 36 percent of his at-bats. He can play third base, and would be Bryant’s replacement, but primarily played the outfield last year with Donaldson occupying the hot corner. His .958 fielding percentage leaves a lot to be desired, but again, he would likely play third base where his fielding is much better.

Wright was the fifth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and is ranked as the 35th best prospect in baseball. He features a fastball that rides in the high 90s with plus pitches in both his curveball and slider. In 21 starts with Triple-A last year, Wright posted a 4.17 ERA in 112.1 innings, while striking out 116 batters and walking just 35.

Now that we’re past introductions, any trade package has to include Max Fried or all four of the players the Cubs have reportedly requested. Austin Riley is still very young and has a ton of pop in his bat. He’s also under team control through the 2025 season, which would allow the Cubs some financial flexibility to stagger their extensions.

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Bryant was the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft and earned 2015 Rookie of the League honors as well as the 2016 National League MVP. Baseball is such a fickle industry, and unfortunately, not everyone can be retained. It appears that a Bryant trade is now imminent, and we have to hope the Cubs receive a sizeable return.