The Chicago Cubs may have just placed one of the best players in baseball on the trade block. Third baseman Kris Bryant is reportedly available in trades, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.
Before fans of opposing teams start formulating ludicrous trade offers, they should know that the Bryant news comes with a pretty significant qualifier. The Cubs aren’t actually looking to deal the 26-year-old Bryant, they simply have a policy that no player is untouchable, according to Theo Epstein.
“We’ve never operated with untouchables,” he said. “It sends the wrong message. Given what we’re trying to accomplish, it would be virtually impossible to envision the deal that would make sense to move them. I just don’t believe in untouchables. Why limit yourself?”
That’s a pretty big qualifier. In fact, it’s probably enough to make this a non-story. The Cubs aren’t going to trade Bryant. They have no motivation to make the move. The only way it’s happening is if a team trades its entire franchise to the Cubs. Do you really think the Los Angeles Angels are going to give up Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani for Bryant? Of course not.
Epstein’s approach here is similar to that one owner in your fantasy league who claims every player is available, but then tells you to give up half your roster for their one superstar. When you won’t do that, he or she turns around and offers you Addison Russell — the guy he or she wanted to trade all along.
In other words: Bryant’s not going anywhere. The Cubs may have concerns about signing Bryant long term, but he’s still under team control through 2021. He’s young, cheap compared to his production and a bonafide superstar. With the Cubs squarely in the middle of their contention window, it doesn’t make sense to part with Bryant.
There’s no reason to panic yet, Cubs fans. As Epstein notes, the team has always operated with a no-untouchables policy. The Cubs haven’t traded stars like Bryant or Anthony Rizzo or Javier Baez in the past, even though they were technically available. There’s no reason to believe they’ll start dealing those guys now.
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