A month ago the Chicago Cubs were on track to be buyers come July 30th, but now the MLB Trade Deadline is under a week away and the Cubs are poised to be sellers.
Arguably the biggest names the Cubs may be parting ways with? Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Anthony Rizzo. Out of those three big names, Kris Bryant would hurt the most to lose, and statistics prove it. Bryant has the highest AVG, OBP, and SLG% slashing .266/.354/.494. Báez is only slashing .245/.291/.488. While Rizzo is .241/.341/.420.
During the first 50 games of the season, Bryant had an OBP of .406 and was slugging just over .600. Báez has struck out 128 times in 88 games, and Rizzo has not been able to stay consistent throughout the season. So while Bryant has cooled off quite a bit, he and Kimbrel are Chicago’s biggest potential moneymakers.
Bryant is also a dream player for many teams thanks to his ability to play different positions and play them well. He has played 12 games at 1B, 28 games at 3B, 27 games in LF, 14 games in CF, and 26 games in RF. Despite doing his time around the diamond, Bryant has the 4th highest WAR among third basemen in the NL, yet he doesn’t even play the position daily.
I am writing all of this to explain how, out of the “big three” Bryant should be the one they keep. But even if they keep him around past the trade deadline, will the Cubs muster up enough money to re-sign him in the offseason? Remember, the Cubs called Bryant up 10 days into his rookie year in 2015 to keep him for an extra season before he would hit free agency, giving him a guaranteed extra season with the Cubs. Bryant then filed a grievance against the Cubs for being denied a full year of service time. He ended up loosing the case, but given these legal battles, even if the Cubs decide to keep him past the deadline, it is unlikely Bryant and his agent, Scott Boras, will be on board with re-signing with the Cubs. Unless of course the Cubs cough up a lot of money.
Bryant was selected No. 2 overall in the 2013 draft, and has been an impactful member of Chicago’s organization ever since, as his resume shows…
- Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year (2014- Iowa Cubs)
- USA Today Minor League Player of the Year (2014 Iowa Cubs)
- NL Rookie of the Year (2015- Chicago Cubs)
- NL Hank Aaron Award (2015- Chicago Cubs)
- World Series Champion (2016- Chicago Cubs)
- NL MVP (2016- Chicago Cubs)
- NL All-Star (15, 16, 19, 21 – Chicago Cubs)
It’s hard watching a player with this level of talent possibly be playing in his last few games in the pinstripes. At what could be his last homestand, on Friday, July 23rd, Cubs fan Kevin Thompson bought 40 Bryant jerseys to hand out to fans in the same section as Tom Ricketts. He felt that this would “send a message” to Ricketts to keep Bryant.
There’s no question that Kris Bryant is worth a hefty amount. He helped change Chicago baseball forever, and he will go down as one of the most memorable Cubs of all time. But now, it’s up to the Chicago Cubs on if they’re going to try their best to extend him, or if they’re simply going to let him go.