The Washington Nationals kicked off the 2019 Winter Meetings with the re-signing of right-hander Stephen Strasburg to a record-breaking $245 million deal. And with it came market-setting ramifications for other top free agents this winter, like Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon. For Cole, it now seems possible that he will become the first $300 million pitcher in baseball history. And for Rendon, it's likely that the Nats third baseman will sign elsewhere this winter.

Another ripple effect from the Strasburg deal is this offseason's trade market beginning to take shape. The Nationals have reached out to the Chicago Cubs about a possible Kris Bryant trade, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reports on Tuesday. In the event that the Nationals do not re-sign Rendon, Bryant would be a solid fallback plan for the reigning World Series champs. Bryant, 27, has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining and will not hit free agency until after the 2021 season. 

Bryant, a former National League MVP, bounced back from injury-riddled season and pushed concerns of his lack of power completely out of the picture thanks to a productive 2019 campaign. The third baseman hit .282/.382/.521 with 31 home runs, 77 RBI and an OPS of .903 in 147 games last season.

Bryant and his agent Scott Boras recently filed a grievance claiming the Cubs manipulated his service time in 2015 to delay his free agency. While the ruling from an arbitrator awaits, it may have an impact on his trade value. If Bryant wins the grievance, he could be retroactively credited with service time, and thus become a free agent next offseason. If the Cubs prevail, Bryant would still be two years away from free agency. Teams are more likely to trade for Bryant if he has two seasons of control as opposed to one. Both Bryant and Rendon are represented by Scott Boras. 

After Nationals owner Mark Lerner said that the team can't afford both Rendon and Strasburg in free agency last week, general manager Mike Rizzo later clarified by leaving the door open for a Rendon signing, saying that Lerner's comments were made before the structure of the Strasburg deal -- which reportedly includes $80 million in deferred payments -- was finalized. Rendon is not interested in contract deferrals, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports, citing it as one of the main reasons he turned down Washington's reported offer of a seven-year deal worth between $210 and $215 million back in September.