- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2020

The Washington Nationals have been linked to Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant for some time now. The Nationals have had a hole at third base ever since Anthony Rendon’s departure, and Bryant, a former MVP, is an intriguing option to fill it. 

But according to a new report, the Nationals aren’t willing to offer two of their top pitching prospects in trade talks. 

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Monday that Washington is “determined to keep” Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli in any potential deal. The two pitchers are the first- and second-ranked prospects in the team’s minor-league system, respectively.

Bryant is viewed as available around MLB as the slugger is set to hit free agency next winter. The Cubs, too, have a number of high-profile players who will hit the market then, and the team is unlikely to keep them all. 

Bryant, 28, won the National League MVP in 2016 — the year the Cubs won the World Series — but hasn’t gotten back to that level of production since. He’s coming off a shortened season in which he hit just .206/.293/.351. 

Rutledge, meanwhile, was the Nationals’ first-round draft pick in 2019. He stands at 6-foot-8 and can throw his fastball 99 miles per hout. 

After taking Rutledge in 2019, the Nationals drafted Cavalli, a 6-foot-4 pitcher out of Oklahoma, 20th overall in 2020.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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