Chicago Cubs: Team’s asking price for Kris Bryant is “obscene”

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have been unable to move Kris Bryant this offseason because they are reportedly asking for a hefty haul of nearly Major League-ready talent.

With every day that passes, it seems more likely that Kris Bryant will be on the Chicago Cubs roster when Opening Day rolls around. The team’s front office has been in contact with the Nationals, and due to their persistent requests for Victor Robles to be included in a trade, the discussions have reportedly gone nowhere.

David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago recently spoke with a former GM, who indicated that “The Cubs’ asking price for Bryant is a joke.” He also suggests that Bryant is not even a top 30 player anymore: “He is mediocre at best as a defender at third base. His swing has changed dramatically since 2016, and I question if he is truly 100% healthy. Sure, he has the ability, and he is a big, strong man, but his offensive impact is nowhere close to what he looked like when the Cubs won the World Series.”

While some of what this unnamed GM said seems far-fetched, his .903 OPS was suitable for 27th best in baseball last season and is quite a drop-off from his career-high .946 OPS in 2017. So a strong argument can be made that he may have peaked at age 25 and should have sought an extension at that point. Bryant recently turned 28-years-old and, depending on the outcome of his grievance hearing, could potentially be a free agent after the 2020 season. It is unlikely that he’ll win his case against the Cubs, which would grant the team another year to seek a trade or if Bryant’s camp reduces their asking price of an extension.

At this point, though, the Cubs are doing the right thing trying to get the most for the 2016 National League MVP. They still hold some leverage while they wait for Josh Donaldson to sign. We’ve been following this story for several weeks now, and, at times, it seems like there will be no resolution. However, with the Cubs Convention set for the weekend of January 17-19, both Cubs’ fans and the front office would like to have a clear direction going into that weekend.

The team is likely to work out a Javier Baez extension before the season starts, and they can afford to retain Kris Bryant if they would like. But it would mean exceeding the luxury tax threshold in consecutive seasons and allocating the money that is coming off the books after next season in Tyler Chatwood, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana. An extension in the neighborhood of six-to-seven years and approximately $30 million AAV should be more than reasonable, but it just depends if Bryant’s camp will agree to that.

Next. Nationals’ signings indicate potential Plan B. dark

Last offseason, it was the Addison Russell distraction, and he was kept away from the convention. At the same time, Tom Ricketts canceled his Q&A panel to avoid answering questions regarding the Cubs’ intent on retaining him for another year. I imagine something similar will occur this year, especially if Bryant is traded before that weekend.