Scott Boras: Trading players like Cubs’ Kris Bryant is ‘complex’

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Maddie Lee
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Boras: Trading players like Bryant is ‘complex’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Neither Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer, nor super-agent Scott Boras would be surprised if Kris Bryant was on the Cubs Opening Day roster.

But will Bryant finish the season in Chicago?

“In my role,” said Boras, Bryant’s agent, “you understand the difficulty of moving players of his stature and at this age, and with that versatility. It's complex. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying it's complex.”

Bryant, a three-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year and MVP, enters his seventh MLB season. It’s also his last under team control, which explains all the trade chatter surrounding him. Arbitration-eligible Bryant is projected to be one of the Cubs' top-three earners in 2021.

Even last season, Bryant trade rumors swirled. And that was before the Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber earlier this month, beginning to break up their championship core.

That was before Bryant battled through several injuries in an already shortened 2020 season. The result was a career-low .206 batting average.

“All I know is that going forward this is a player who is an absolute core in a lineup,” Boras said on the Cubs Talk Podcast. “He can do things that few players in the Major Leagues have.

“When you examine core players on other teams and look at them – well, is Christian Yelich now somebody that someone thinks vastly different about?”

Yelich, who finished first and second in 2018 and 2019 NL MVP voting, was among the most high-profile MLB players who slumped this past season. His batting averaged dropped from .329 in 2019 to .205 in 2020.

Bryant famously brushed off online criticism at the end of the season with five simple words: “I don’t give a s***.”

He’d hit home runs in back-to-back games that weekend against the White Sox. Bryant’s track record does suggest that last season – just 34 appearances-worth of stats – was an outlier. But a strong, and healthy, start to next season could only help his value.

If Bryant does indeed begin the season with the Cubs, they will have a decision to make. Should the club push to trade him before the deadline, offer him an extension, or let him enter free agency and risk losing him for a compensation pick?

“The other aspect of it is just that, if the team gets off to a great start playing well and doing well, why do you want to (trade him) and say, who can replace him and what can you do to go forward?” Boras said. “So, a lot of this depends on factors that would have to play out over time.”

The Cubs have insisted all offseason that they want to remain competitive next year. But the front office also has to consider the fact this group hasn’t made it to a division series in three years. And three core hitters – Bryant, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo – have just one year left of club control.

Hoyer said that while he’ll continue to keep one eye on the present and one on the future, he “might be a little bit more focused towards the future than usual.”

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