Reports from Wednesday morning suggest that Chicago Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant has lost his service time grievance. How does that affect the Texas Rangers?
The big headline of the day Wednesday has already arrived with Jeff Passan of ESPN reporting that Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, has lost his service time grievance that would have seen his two remaining years of arbitration drop down to one, making him a free agent at the end of the 2020 season. For the Texas Rangers, this could mean another avenue to adding the impact player they desired at the start of the offseason.
While Bryant’s grievance decision does increase his trade value for the Cubs, it also makes it a more fitting deal for the Rangers if they were to get involved. Texas has been pretty clear on their intent to take a step forward in 2020, but the plan is still to be a genuine contender in 2021 and beyond. If Bryant had won his grievance, he would have only had a year left of team control meaning the fit for Texas would’ve been harder to justify.
This is still a very unlikely deal and we don’t really know if the Rangers are even considering it, although it does fit exactly what they were looking for when the offseason began. Bryant has solidified himself as a top player in the game and at 28, already has an NL MVP to his credit. After a down 2018 marred by some injuries, Bryant returned to solid form last season posting a 4.8 fWAR which ranked 9th among MLB third basemen. He played in 147 games and hit .282 with 31 home runs with an OPS of .903.
The sticking point for the Rangers, as it probably is for most teams, is the price to acquire the third baseman considering his remaining service time. The Cubs are a team caught in between contending and trying to cut payroll so while they look very open to dealing Bryant, it will only be for a premium price. The Rangers should have the pieces to get him if they want him, but with only two guaranteed years of his service, a club like Texas has to weigh the risk of losing out on valuable long-term prospects in hopes of winning quickly. They would undoubtedly look to ink Bryant to an extension, but that’s no guarantee and they likely wouldn’t approach an agreement for at least another season. Trading for Bryant would be a massive gamble, but it would be one that would deliver a superstar that the Rangers desperately need.