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Rumor: Braves re-engage Cubs in Kris Bryant trade talks

Kris Bryant, Braves

The Atlanta Braves hoped Josh Donaldson would return to be their third baseman for the foreseeable future. Instead, Donaldson signed a four-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, creating a glaring hole at the hot corner for the Braves and general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

However, the Braves have the kind of prospect capital and payroll flexibility to trade for an impact star, and ESPN Chicago Cubs beat reporter Jesse Rogers reports Atlanta has re-engaged the Cubs in trade talks involving Kris Bryant during an appearance on ESPN 1000:

David O’Brien of The Athletic previously reported the Braves were not exactly thrilled at the idea of trading for Bryant or Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado to replace Donaldson at third:

Atlanta had seemed to pivot toward signing a free-agent outfielder, and they reached out to both Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos:

However, it appears they are doing their due diligence on Bryant with Donaldson out of the picture.

The former 2016 National League MVP is still awaiting a final decision on the service-time grievance he filed against the Cubs. Though it is expected he will lose that decision, it is impacting Bryant’s trade value because a decision in his favor would make him a free agent after the 2020 season rather than after the 2021 campaign.

Still, Bryant could present the best fit for the Braves. Atlanta already possess depth in the outfield, and top prospects like Christian Pache and Drew Waters are nearing their big-league debuts. While one of those two would likely go to Chicago in a hypothetical Bryant trade, the Braves still have options.

Should they fail to acquire an impact third baseman, they will have to rely on Johan Camargo (.279) and Austin Riley (36.4 percent strikeout rate) to fill the hole, which seems less than ideal.