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Report: Cubs’ asking price for Kris Bryant is a ‘joke’

Kris Bryant, Theo Epstein, Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have been flirting with the prospect of trading star third baseman Kris Bryant since the beginning of the offseason, but it seems more and more unlikely a deal will get done.

David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago spoke with some rival executives who stated that Chicago’s asking price for Bryant is extremely high in spite of some views that Bryant is not the same player he was in 2016, when he won NL MVP:

“The Cubs’ asking price for Bryant is a joke,” a former GM said. “They want nearly ready major league talent at the level of a Gleyber Torres type or close and there is no chance a team is going to give them a package of those caliber of players.

“I like Bryant but he is not a Top 30 player in baseball in my opinion. 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 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.”

Multiple people in baseball echoed that sentiment. They don’t see the same impactful offensive player Bryant was in 2015 and 2016, and they believe that the Cubs are in a very difficult spot to turn the team around.

Another issue with respect to Bryant’s availability is his pending service-time grievance. Should he win that case — though he is not expected to — Bryant will be a free agent after the 2020 season.

The uncertainty with respect to Bryant’s future status paired with the belief that he is not worth the asking price might force the Cubs to pivot. Although executives have chilled on Bryant’s value, he still ranked 24th in baseball in terms of fWAR last season.

The numbers seem to indicate Kris Bryant is one of the best players in the game. But with personnel around the league apparently hesitant to make a move, might the Cubs instead look to extend the former MVP?