On Wednesday, the league’s arbitrator ruled against Kris Bryant in his grievance case against the Chicago Cubs. What’s next for the team and the slugger?
It seemed like fans had to wait longer for the results of Kris Bryant‘s grievance hearing than they did the team’s next World Series. All joking aside, Major League Baseball’s arbitrator ruled against Kris Bryant in his grievance hearing against the Chicago Cubs. Bryant, 28, initially filed the grievance after his rookie year in 2015, claiming that the team had manipulated his service team to gain an extra year of control.
While it certainly seemed like the Cubs waited until the period had passed to call up Bryant, it’s not breaking any laws, ones that will surely be corrected in the next collective bargaining agreement. The decision ensures that Bryant will not become a free agent until after the 2021 season.
For several weeks, we’ve been tracking the trade rumors involving the Cubs’ superstar, and most of those trade talks were dependent on the results of this hearing. It wouldn’t make a ton of sense for a team to give up a haul of nearly Major-League ready talent for one year of Bryant. However, two seasons provides a prospective team with some options as Bryant will be turning 30 when he’s up for a big payday, assuming he does not sign an extension before.
I would expect that the trade discussions will ramp up with the primary suitors likely being the Washington Nationals or Los Angeles Dodgers. The Atlanta Braves could also be potential trade partners, especially with Josh Donaldson signing with the Twins. The Cubs are determined to acquire a couple of young arms for their future rotation, one that loses both Jon Lester and Jose Quintana after the upcoming season.
The Braves have been known to draft and develop Major League pitching, which would be a terrific match for the Cubs. But I, personally, also like the prospect of a Nationals trade to acquire Carter Kieboom, Jackson Rutledge, and Tim Cate. Kieboom is without a position right now after the team signed Starlin Castro to a two-year deal, and he’s expected to play a significant amount of time at second base.
The Cubs have struggled to shore up their second base position, and Kieboom would fit well there. They would also get a power arm in Rutledge. We’ll see what develops in the next week or so, but teams should start to emerge with potential trades for Theo Epstein to consider.