Report: Phillies Talked Bryant Trade With Cubs
The Phillies need to add at least one infielder, something we knew heading into the Winter Meetings, currently taking place in San Diego. But most of the chatter so far has been linked to free agent possibilities. According to a report, however, the Phillies are still considering the trade route.
According to Bruce Levine of 670 the Score in Chicago, the Phillies and Cubs have talked about a potential trade for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant:
The Cubs and Phillies have had discussions centered on Bryant, according to sources. The Winter Meetings provide the setting for the teams to work on matching up the return that the Cubs would be seeking.
Bryant was the 2016 National League Most Valuable Player.
A deal of any kind involving Bryant would be unlikely at the moment. Bryant has an active grievance against the Cubs over service time. The Cubs notoriously held off on a Bryant promotion to the major leagues until he passed the service time threshold that would award the Cubs an extra year of control. That year of control is the hold up.
If the Cubs win the grievance, Bryant will be under Cubs control for two more seasons. If the Cubs lose the grievance, Bryant will be under Cubs control for just one more season. The Phillies, or anyone else interested in a trade, would not likely make a trade until they knew if they were getting one year of control or two.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein noted that the resolution of the grievance is holding up their offseason:
"We're fairly confident in what the outcome is going to be but the timing is a bit frustrating. It would be nice to know. We're at the winter meetings and there hasn't been a ruling. I understand these things take time. It's not going to be more than a couple weeks away but it would be nice to have that final confirmation."
In the meantime, interested teams like the Phillies might not wait.
The Phillies have been linked to infielder Didi Gregorius as a free agent target, but the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds appear to be closing in on Gregorius a little harder. Matt Gelb of the Athletic notes that the Phillies will pursue a "mid-level" infielder, keeping in mind that Alec Bohm could join the Phillies later this season.
Depending on the type of player the Phillies add, maybe they could re-engage in a couple weeks. Of course, the Phillies could be all set by then.