CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant's throw to first base for the last out of the 2016 World Series seemed to take an eternity for Cubs fans. That's how the Cubs -- and potential trade partners -- now feel as they wait for free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson to sign and bring clarity to the Bryant situation.
Three seasons have passed since Bryant and the Cubs reached that zenith, and the team's steady regression has forced the Cubs to consider dealing their star third baseman and greatest asset to address other needs.
Donaldson could sign a lucrative contract before Christmas, which would help determine which teams remain in the market for a top-flight veteran third baseman. Here's a look at who might be interested in Bryant -- and what they have to offer -- if the Cubs decide to make a potentially franchise-altering trade.
-- Who needs an impact third baseman?
The Nationals couldn't retain postseason hero Anthony Rendon, who signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels. A Nationals source cooled reports of their interest in Bryant, but that was before Rendon signed.
The Braves are waiting to see if Josh Donaldson, an Alabama native, will re-sign with them.
"I texted (Donaldson) a couple times, and I would have anyway," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You go through the season with a guy like that and what he did, and he grows on you. He's a good man. He's a bright player. I'm pulling for him no matter where he's at."
The Rangers and Dodgers could use upgrades at third, although they have internal options. And the Rangers might be inclined to pursue cheaper options in the midst of a rebuild with Bryant assured of only two more seasons of team control -- or one if he wins his grievance over service time.
The Braves also have internal options in Austin Riley and Johan Camargo.
-- Who has young pitching to offer the Cubs?