Blue Jays rumours: Top 5 non-tender candidates to watch this week
1- Not gonna happen, but what if it did?
If you scan the list I’ve been referencing all along, there’s one clear-cut name that stands out and that’s Kris Bryant. I think we’d all be shocked if the Cubs just non-tendered him, as surely they could get some sort of trade return for him, and that’s likely where the focus is more worthwhile.
It sounds like the Cubs are pretty serious about cutting payroll, and Bryant could be the one to go. He’s a year away from free agency after losing his appeal with the league a year ago, and he’s slated to make an estimated 18.6 million during his last trip through arbitration. There are two problems for the Cubs though. One would be the aforementioned payroll situation, but secondly, Bryant wasn’t himself last year as he battled injury, slashing just .206/.293/.351 across 34 games.
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However, this is a 28-year-old former MVP that could be worth betting on, especially if the acquisition cost was low. He’d be a great fit for the Blue Jays, as he could fill the hole at third base with a major upgrade as long as he’s healthy, and he also has the flexibility to play in the outfield corners. It’s a bit of a gamble because of his precarious health this season, and the fact that he’ll be a free agent in a year’s time, but it could also represent a unique opportunity.
You usually have to pay a premium for the chance to acquire an MVP-calibre player, and that might not be the case when it comes to Bryant this winter. I’m sure there have been other teams that have asked about him, and my guess is the Cubs have a reasonably high asking price, even if they know that their salary reduction desires are well known. However, as we get closer to the Dec 2nd deadline, the front office in Chicago may prefer to trade him now rather than tender an offer and be forced to do the same later.
If the Blue Jays are serious about pursuing stars like George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, or Francisco Lindor, they may not have the budget space for someone like Bryant as well, even with the hole at third base. They still have needs in the rotation and the bullpen, but I can’t help but think that Bryant would be a great fit in Toronto.
Who knows if the Blue Jays will act now and make a trade for one of these non-tender candidates, snap them up when they hit the free agent market, or maybe even wait to see the trickle down effect with other clubs. Whatever it is, hopefully we’ll see some movement this week, and ideally an improvement or two for the Blue Jays.