A little report embedded within an otherwise enjoyable and informative piece from Sahadev Sharma over at The Athletic. I dig it.
While “prediction” pieces are almost always more about narrative fun than about actual information, I do think it is pretty notable when a cautious, but highly-informed, writer like Sahadev Sharma includes a whole section on a Kris Bryant trade in his predictions for 2020.
To be sure, Sharma is not reporting that the trade is about to happen, but he concedes that it’s rare for him to make predictions about specific names (I really hate to do it, because it’s no win). So for him to predict a Kris Bryant trade in his latest – specifically to an NL East team – that jumps off the page at me:
10 Cubs predictions for 2020: Kris Bryant’s future, Yu Darvish’s success and more https://t.co/uSRkZ3velM
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) December 31, 2019
The whole thing is worth a read, because, as always, Sharma just has a great sense of all the goings on with the organization, and I frequently find his work grounding the extremes I often let myself feel as a fan.
Not only does Sharma predict a Bryant trade in there (and predict big things in Bryant’s future), he also does do a little bit of reporting: “Sources indicate that the Nationals may be ready to make a run at trading for Bryant, but those could also be signals to push Donaldson to make a decision sooner than later.”
As we’ve noted before with the Nationals – who reportedly “love” Bryant – they’re a pretty tough fit for a Bryant trade if they aren’t willing to include young center fielder Victor Robles (or infield prospect Carter Kieboom plus-plus, and even then, I’m not sure the desirable pitching is there). So it’s intriguing that Sharma makes this note. Are the Nationals willing to include Robles if the Donaldson decision doesn’t go their way?
Speaking of which: for a while, we’ve wondered whether Josh Donaldson’s decision was holding up Kris Bryant trade talks, or whether the service time grievance was holding up Bryant trade talks, which was holding up Donaldson … but now I just think it’s the whole thing. It’s one big ouroboros, with every bit preceding every other bit, and nothing able to happen because nothing has happened. Obviously, at some point, something will trigger action, but until the grievance is settled and/or until the Braves add a fourth year for Donaldson and/or until Donaldson decides he simply doesn’t want to wait any longer, there isn’t going to be that triggering moment to break the endless circle.
So anyway, the takeaway here is that the Nationals – consistent with several earlier reports – probably really do like Kris Bryant, though it isn’t necessarily the case that they like him to the exclusion of Donaldson. So if the Cubs are ultimately going to trade Bryant, as Sharma predicts, it sure would be great if Donaldson would just decide to sign with the Twins, leaving a trio of NL East teams – the Nationals, the Braves, and the Phillies – all fighting each other to land Bryant.
And of course, yes, that service time grievance decision is still lingering.