Cubs president Theo Epstein responded Friday to ESPN’s report that Chicago is willing to trade third baseman Kris Bryant. 

Epstein didn’t exactly shoot down the rumors, but he did defend what he had said earlier in the week at the GM meetings. Epstein said the organization has “never operated with untouchables,” adding: Some players are “so important to us on the field and in the clubhouse, it would be going backward” to move them.  

“I answered a general question about whether we have untouchables,” Epstein said Friday, via the Chicago Tribune. “Like most every organization, we will listen to anything, but that’s just an operating philosophy.

“We are lucky to have some impact players, and we are looking to add to them, not subtract.”

ESPN reported earlier Friday the Cubs have informed other teams they are “willing to discuss trade proposals for almost all of the players on their roster.” 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.”  

Bryant struggled in 2018, batting .272 with 13 homers as he was limited to 102 games. He went on the disabled list twice with left shoulder issues. 

“This year didn’t go the way I wanted to personally,” Bryant said at the end of the season, per the Tribune. “But I think it’s in your low points you’re so low you build character and you learn probably the most. I learned a lot about myself this year, and the exciting part for me is to be able to apply that the rest of my career.”

Bryant, who turns 27 in January, hasn’t reached a long-term deal with the Cubs, though the team made a significant offer last winter. He is eligible to enter free agency after the 2021 season. 

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