Nationals won't trade their top four players for Kris Bryant?
Kris Bryant is just a year away from free agency and is looking to rebound from an injury-plagued 2020 season. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals’ recent interest in Kris Bryant isn’t the first time Washington has explored trading for the former NL MVP, as the Nats and Cubs held some discussions just last offseason. Victor Robles was known to be of interest to Chicago in a potential Bryant trade, and Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post adds that held firm in keeping not only Robles, but also Juan Soto, Trea Turner and pitching prospect Jackson Rutledge during negotiations with the Cubs.

Nevertheless, there was zero chance Soto, Turner, or probably even Robles were being moved for Bryant last offseason, and this quartet will continue to be off the table in any trade talks this winter. Rutledge (the 17th overall pick of the 2019 draft and ranked by MLB.com as Washington’s top prospect) could have made some sense as a trade chip when Bryant was coming off an impressive 2019 campaign and had two years of team control remaining. Now, however, Bryant is just a year away from free agency and is looking to rebound from an injury-plagued 2020 season. As Dougherty notes, the Nationals or any other team might not have to give up much or any major prospect capital to land Bryant, if the Cubs’ chief intent is just to get his projected $18.6 million salary off their books.

More from the NL East…

  • The Phillies lost $145 million during the 2020 season, a source tells The Associated Press. It’s safe to assume that every team took a sizeable hit, although the exact numbers for almost every team will likely never be fully known. (The Braves, as part of the publicly traded Liberty Media Corporation, are an exception.) Phillies managing partner John Middleton has stated that the revenue losses will have some impact on Philadelphia's offseason plans, but it remains to be seen if that means the Phillies simply won’t splurge as they have in recent offseasons, or if it could mean a much quieter winter. The latter option would make things very difficult for a Phillies roster that has a lot of needs to address.
  • After a tough 2020 season, Mets left-hander Steven Matz has been mentioned as a possible non-tender candidate, as the Amazin's might prefer to seek out other rotation options rather than pay Matz a projected $5.1 million arbitration salary. However, Newsday’s Tim Healey (Twitter links) doesn’t think the Mets' decision is that hard, as the writer would “be surprised if [Matz] doesn’t get tendered a contract.” Matz posted solid numbers as a starter in three of the previous four seasons heading into 2020, but he lost his rotation job during an injury-shortened season that saw him post an ugly 9.68 ERA and surrender 14 home runs over only 30 2/3 innings. Retaining Matz would give the Mets some added rotation depth while they wait for Noah Syndergaard to return from Tommy John surgery, although the Amazin's are expected to be active in seeking out free agents, including pitchers. The rotation already got a boost when Marcus Stroman accepted the Mets’ one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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