Where will Rizzo, KB, Báez end up?

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MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest Cubs-related free agent and trade rumors right here.

July 25: Are these the places Cubs stars will land?
During ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecast for Sunday's White Sox-Brewers matchup, Buster Olney gave his thoughts as to where some key Cubs stars may be traded before Friday's Trade Deadline.

"I think Anthony Rizzo is going to wind up with the Boston Red Sox," Olney said. "I think the Mets are going to wind up with one of three guys: Kris Bryant or Trevor Story or Javier Báez."

July 24: Phillies reportedly in on Kimbrel, other Cubs relievers
After recording the worst ERA (7.06) in the Majors last season, the Phillies’ bullpen hasn’t been that much better in 2021. Philadelphia’s relief corps not only has the ninth-highest ERA (4.64) in MLB but also is tied for the most blown saves (23). 

Accordingly, the Phillies are on the hunt for relief help, and they’re starting at the top of the market with the Cubs’ Craig Kimbrel (2022 club option), according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who notes that they like Andrew Chafin (2022 mutual option) and Ryan Tepera (expiring contract) as well.

Per multiple reports, the Phillies are believed to be willing to exceed the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $210 million this season to acquire an impact player at the Deadline, and Kimbrel would fit the bill. The closer's CBT number is $14 million, which would put Philadelphia over the line.

According to Heyman, the Phils were among the teams with scouts in attendance at Wrigley Field for Saturday afternoon's matchup between the D-backs and Cubs. In addition to the Cubs' relievers, the Phils were there to see D-backs starter Merrill Kelly (controllable through 2024), another one of the team's trade targets, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports.

Zach Davies, who earned his sixth win of the season on Friday and is an impending free agent, may also be an option for the Phillies. Philadelphia has been linked to Kris Bryant as well.

July 22: Cubs willing to listen on everyone
Since it became clear the Cubs were planning to sell at this year’s Trade Deadline, most of the buzz has centered around impending free agents Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Zach Davies, as well as Craig Kimbrel, who has a 2022 club option.

But FanSided’s Robert Murray reports that the club is willing to listen to offers for everyone on the Major League roster, which means that even players such as catcher Willson Contreras (controllable through 2022), Ian Happ (controllable through 2023) and Kyle Hendricks (four-year, $55.5 million deal runs through 2023) might be available for the right offer. Of those three, Contreras is seemingly the most likely to be dealt.

On Wednesday’s episode of the Big Time Baseball podcast, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman mentioned the 29-year-old backstop as a potential trade candidate as well.

“The Cubs really could be the stars of this trade market if they really let loose,” Heyman said.

The problem for Chicago is that there really aren’t many contenders in the market for a catcher.

The Blue Jays and Astros have struggled to generate offense at the catcher spot this season, but they figure to use resources to shore up other areas. The Padres and Mets are in the same boat, but San Diego is getting Austin Nola back from the IL soon, and New York just signed James McCann to a four-year contract in the offseason.

Would the Mariners be a fit? Seattle has gotten an AL-worst .570 OPS from the catcher spot this season, and Contreras would improve the club’s chances this year and also help it in 2022, when the M’s might be ready to make a more serious postseason push. It would make sense, but there's been no indication the Mariners plan to make that kind of trade now.

On Thursday, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Cubs haven't "set firm asking prices" on their available stars yet.

July 20: Is Bryant 'good as gone' from Cubs as Deadline nears?
The Cubs' front office has declared the club to be sellers at the July 30 Trade Deadline, and Chicago already made its first move in that direction last week by trading outfielder Joc Pederson to the Braves. Several other veteran Cubs stars including Craig Kimbrel, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo could also swap uniforms over the next 10 days, but ESPN's Jeff Passan speculates in his Tuesday column (subscription required) that arguably the biggest North Side star of all, Kris Bryant, is "the biggest name who is almost certain to get dealt."

Bryant is "as good as gone," Passan writes, and there are plenty of things about his game that should generate interest far and wide. His defensive versatility might top the list; Bryant entered Tuesday having played 56 games in the outfield (including 14 in center field) along with 28 games at his original third base spot. There's also a developing market at the hot corner, with the Mets long connected to Bryant to fill their hole at third base, and Bryant would represent an upgrade there for the Phillies and Nationals, too. An intradivision trade might be less likely, but Bryant could boost the Brewers' lineup for Milwaukee's stretch-run push.

If Bryant is indeed moved, his next club will be trading for him with the understanding that he would be a two-month (plus potential postseason) rental. The former National League MVP and Rookie of the Year Award winner is due for free agency this winter, and suitors would be responsible for the prorated remaining portion of his $19.5 million salary for this year (unless the Cubs agree to pay some of that money down).

Bryant's early exit from Tuesday's game against the Cardinals sparked speculation that he was on the verge of being dealt, but the Cubs later announced that he left due to right hamstring fatigue.

July 16: Cubs reportedly trying to extend Rizzo, Báez
The Cubs have shifted into selling mode ahead of the Trade Deadline, and outfielder Joc Pederson was the first domino to fall when he was dealt to the Braves on Thursday night.

Pederson was one of several Cubs on expiring contracts, a list that includes Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez.

While Bryant and closer Craig Kimbrel (2022 club option) are on the block, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman is hearing the team will try again to sign Rizzo and Báez to extensions before shopping them.

The Athletic (subscription required) reported in March that the Cubs had offered Rizzo a five-year, $70 million extension -- much less than the five-year $130 million contract Paul Goldschmidt got from the Cardinals with one season left before free agency. Talks stalled with Rizzo seeking a larger deal.

As for Báez, Buster Olney reported for ESPN+ (subscription required) in April that the shortstop turned down an extension "somewhere in the range of $180 million" from Chicago before the 2020 season. Báez will likely have trouble finding a deal close to that on the open market this offseason, as he is not only more than a year older but also has posted a .223/.265/.436 slash line with 190 K's and only 21 walks over 549 plate appearances across the past two seasons.

July 16: Nats, Mets reportedly interested in Bryant
New Kris Bryant suitors continue to emerge. The Nats are the latest to be linked to the third baseman, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, but they aren’t the only NL East club said to have interest in him.

Heyman reported Thursday night that the Mets are among the clubs eyeing Bryant.

Per Heyman, the Nats don’t want to trade either of their top two prospects, right-handers Cade Cavalli and Jackson Rutledge. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to find a deal that works. With Bryant set for free agency after this season, other teams may also be reluctant to part with high-end prospects.

Washington has struggled to find a hot-corner replacement for Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Angels after the 2019 season. Over the past two years, Nationals third basemen have recorded MLB's fifth-lowest wRC+ (81).

Like the Mets, the Nats have been connected to Bryant in the past, although general manager Mike Rizzo said last December that it had been about two years since the team had a "serious conversation about Kris Bryant."

July 15: Joc Pederson traded to Braves
The Cubs officially began executing their Trade Deadline strategy Thursday night, trading outfielder Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Minor League first baseman Bryce Ball. Pederson was hitting .254 (52-for-205) with 10 home runs for the Cubs since returning from the injured list May 3. He signed a one-year contract with the Cubs this past offseason which includes a mutual option for 2022.

Ball, a 23-year-old first baseman, will join the Cubs farm system after hitting .207 (35-for-169) with six home runs in 53 games as a member of the High-A Rome Braves. The 6-foot-6 lefty bat was considered Atlanta's No. 12 prospect entering this season by MLB Pipeline. More >