This Cubs-Nationals Trade for Kris Bryant Could Actually Work

Chicago Cubs 3B Kris Bryant
Chicago Cubs 3B Kris Bryant / Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Winter Meetings are in full force and we should expect another big move on Tuesday after the Washington Nationals inked Stephen Strasburg to a record deal on Monday. Well, it could involve the Nats again.

According to the latest buzz, Washington has contacted the Chicago Cubs about a trade for third baseman Kris Bryant, who is widely believed to be available, considering the defending champs are expected to lose Anthony Rendon on the open market.

So, let's cook up a hypothetical trade, shall we?

Bryant, a former MVP and one of the best third basemen in the MLB, isn't expected to hit free agency until after 2021, but that could change with his service-time grievance he and agent Scott Boras filed with the league -- an issue that isn't exactly attractive to potential suitors.

However, that won't stop the Cubs from getting a handsome trade package in return for the 27-year-old. Theo Epstein is going to make sure whatever the team gets in return will be the best offer available.

So, what'll it take to bring Bryant to the nation's capital? Here's what a deal might look like.

Nats-Cubs Kris Bryant Trade Prediction

Nationals Get: 3B Kris Bryant

Cubs Get: Prospect pitchers Jackson Rutledge (No. 3), Tim Cate (No. 6) and Matt Cronin (No. 11)

  • Rutledge: 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA in one minor league season (Rookie League, A and A-) as starter
  • Cate: 13-15 with a 3.59 ERA in two minor league seasons (A-, A and A+) as starter
  • Cronin: 0-0 with a 0.82 ERA in one minor league season (A) as reliever

While Cubs fans might not be completely enamored with this, let's not forget Bryant is one year closer to free agency and is projected to make over $20 million in arbitration.

The Cubs are always in need of young pitching, which has proven to be an area of weakness throughout Epstein's tenure. They've had barely any homegrown talent on the pitching staff, whereas the Nats specialize in such scouting. According to, 11 of the team's top 17 prospects are pitchers, so one would imagine the Cubs would have the pick of the litter to open up the discussions. After all, the Nats have one of the best rotations in the league, so a number of these guys are going to be blocked due to the presence of Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin.

Similarly, the Cubs are stuck with veterans in their rotation, unless they can pull of magic on the trade market. Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana are all signed through next season, with Hendricks and Darvish signed through 2023. The highest level any of the aforementioned Nationals prospects have reached is Double-A, so they'll have another full year of development before the Cubs would consider bringing them up.

In the end, the Cubs are trying to cut salary and improve their farm system. This would help them do that in a big way and replenish them in an area that's been deficient for far too long.