Untouchables? "It's semantics", said Theo Epstein, who is not shopping either Rizzo or Bryant in trade talks.
"I answered a general question about whether we have untouchables", Epstein said Friday, via the Chicago Tribune. Yes, Bryant is coming off a down year by his high standards -.272/.374/.460 in 102 games - and battled serious problems with his left shoulder.
"I just don't believe in operating with 'untouchables, ' because why limit yourself in any way".
But he then added some players are "so important to us on the field and in the clubhouse, it would be going backwards" to move them.
Juan Martín Del Potro comparte su presente y su próximo objetivo
Aunque ya mira para adelante: " Estoy trabajando para tener la mejor recuperación posible y volver la próxima temporada ", dijo. Luego, comentó como es el día a día de la rehabilitación: "Quiero dejarlos tranquilos a ustedes".
"Like most teams, we will listen to anything", Epstein told 670 The Score. The report added Bryant, who won the Rookie of the Year award in 2015 and MVP the next season, could move "as soon as this winter".
But since the day they negotiated Bryant's signing bonus with agent Scott Boras, the Cubs never counted on such an extension with their No. 2 overall draft pick. He is under team control through 2021.
If anything, that makes the most plausible trade speculation at least a year or two away, and only in the event the Cubs change competitive direction in that time.
Epstein didn't exactly shoot down the rumors, but he did defend what he had said earlier in the week at the GM meetings. "It's certainly time. It's certainly a pivotal season for us as an organization for this group to go out there and accomplish some special things".