We’ve reached the point in the season where you’ll have to apply liberal salt despite all the spicy reports circulating throughout baseball. That is particularly true when it comes to Kris Bryant, who’s been the subject of trade rumors for the past several years. The latest of these with at least a hint of credibility comes from Jon Heyman, who tweeted Friday that the “Nats are among many teams said interested” in Bryant.
Nats are among many teams said interested in Kris Bryant but it’s uncertain if there’s a prospect match. Nats do not want to trade top pitching prospects Cavalli or Rutledge
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 16, 2021
Heyman went on to add that there might not be a prospect match because Washington is loath to part with either Cade Cavalli or Jackson Rutledge, their top two pitching prospects. If you recall, this is basically the exact same thing we heard back in November of last year and also in December of 2019, just with the names shifting around a bit over time.
Rutledge and Cavalli are both 22 years old and were the Nats’ top picks in 2019 and ’20, respectively, and both have elite velo that approaches or even reaches triple digits. Both are also expected to be in the majors next season, at which point Max Scherzer is set to become a free agent. It’s obvious the Cubs would want to seek out pitching, but prying loose a top-2 organizational prospect is a huge ask even for a superstar.
The biggest limiting factor is Bryant’s lack of contractual control, especially when considering that the Nats are currently six games out of first in the NL East and nine games back in the Wild Card. While Bryant would certainly make them better, it could be for a very short period and might still not be enough to put them over in the division.
And that’s really the rub for Jed Hoyer. It’s much easier to extract value from a trade involving someone like Joc Pederson, who’s got only nominal emotional and financial capital built with the organization and fans. Moving a player like Bryant for a middling prospect isn’t going to help the Cubs in the near term and might not even have any impact over time.