As Joe Girardi’s first camp opens, the new Philadelphia Phillies manager isn’t ready to announce who will start at third base on Opening Day in Miami. It doesn’t appear, however, that it will be former National League MVP Kris Bryant.
In December, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported that the Phillies and Cubs had discussed Bryant, but said that there was “nothing there at the moment.” Bob Nightengale of USA Today reignited the idea last week when he said that the Phillies and division-rival Washington Nationals were “at least showing exploratory interest” in Bryant.
Though it’s unclear exactly what the Phillies would be willing to offer in a potential trade for Bryant, it’s hard to continue trading in cheap, controllable talent for expensive veterans, even ones that are All-Star caliber.
The Phillies traded top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez last February as part of a deal for catcher J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto had an excellent first season in Philadelphia. He’s also expected to command a deal in excess of $100 million when he becomes eligible for free agency this offseason. Unless you are willing to blow past the luxury tax threshold – which there’s no indication that the Phillies or any other team are – then you can’t have $20 million plus players at every position.
As the Phillies pay Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler, among others, large sums of money, it becomes that much more important for pieces like Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard and Scott Kingery to produce at a high level before they become expensive. As Montemurro noted, such production for a lower rate keeps the Phillies from becoming too “top heavy.” All three would be possible candidates to be moved in a deal for Bryant.
Bryant, 28, slashed .282/.382/.521 with 31 home runs, 77 RBIs and a 4.8 fWAR in 2019. He can’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season.
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