"But it's possible that the Cubs will trade him, perhaps as soon as this winter", Olney said in his latest article.
The Cubs are open to making some major moves this offseason as ESPN reported Friday that Chicago has informed other teams it's "willing to discuss trade proposals for nearly all of the players on their roster".
"I answered a general question about whether we have untouchables", Epstein said. I think Olney is a perfectly fine reporter, but if that's him speaking as an analyst and dot-connector ...
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. Those guys don't get traded, and that's especially true when their team is looking to add offense, and when the player is coming off of a down season that was impacted by a shoulder injury.
In an offseason when the Cubs front office has to get creative, you expect them to consider everything.
That's where I'd leave things, personally, because Bryant is a generational talent with three years of team control during a competitive window.
The Cubs' inability to negotiate a multiyear extension with Bryant in recent seasons might fuel speculation about the status of the two-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year - including within the industry.
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.