Friday was abuzz with news of prospects being added to 40-man rosters, but the rumor mill started to churn in earnest as well. Of note from earlier were reports that the Dodgers and Rockies line up really well on a Nolan Arenado trade, with LA also eyeing Kris Bryant as a potential target. Then came a subsequent report about the Nationals considering a trade for Bryant.
Sources: #Nats are considering a trade for #Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, among numerous hitters they’re currently monitoring on the market. Free agent DJ LeMahieu is another option, as I reported earlier today on @MLBNetwork. @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2020
That would be interesting as a new concept, but it’s made a little less so by the fact that Morosi essentially dusted off the exact same rumor barely less than one year ago. It’s almost as though Bryant is a big name who’s been the subject of heavy speculation as his team makes it quite clear that trimming payroll is a higher priority than building a highly competitive roster for 2021.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2019
Last year’s chatter had the Cubs asking for 23-year-old outfielder Victor Robles, who was then coming off of a season in which he’d posted 2.5 fWAR with a 91 wRC+ and .317 wOBA. He didn’t come anywhere close to those tallies this past season, putting up a -0.5 fWAR with a 65 wRC+ and .273 wOBA. Even the fools who live in an alternate reality in which their version of Bryant sucks have to admit that the injured star’s performance was far better than Robles’ in 2020.
There’s obviously more to it than just immediate production since Robles still has four years of club control and won’t being arb-eligible until after next season. The Cubs aren’t going to get anything resembling commensurate value if they do opt to trade Bryant, who has just one year remaining at around $20 million, so Robles would provide tremendous value even if he doesn’t reach his potential.
In the end, you should probably afford this as much attention as you feel it deserves.