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Make the Call: Bryant and Cubs Should Talk

As the MLB offseason progresses, the Cubs need to pick up the phone and, at minimum, have a conversation with Kris Bryant about returning to Chicago.

Kris Bryant Cubs
Photo: Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Kris Bryant news cycle was flipped on its head yesterday after reports surfaced indicating the Giants were unimpressed with Bryant. In fact, that sentiment knocks out a popular suitor for his services given the fit people initially saw with Bryant in the Bay. Now, the 2016 NL MVP hits the market with what might be a short list of serious suitors.

As Kris Bryant hits the market, it’s time for Jed Hoyer to do the right thing. Let me preface the term “right thing”. Naturally, Cubs fans will assume that means “bringing him home”. It can lead to such a result if things progress well. That said, the real meaning of the term in this case is picking up the phone and having a conversation about a return to Chicago.

The fit may not be right. Believe it or not, the Cubs may be moving in a direction that doesn’t involve Bryant on the roster. Fans and media alike will not know the explicit plan designed by the front office. In fact, we all sit here and speculate what the Cubs may do this winter, especially amid the impending strike as the CBA ends on December 1.

However, Hoyer needs to pick up the phone and talk to Bryant. During the regular season, Bryant spoke up publicly and mentioned that the door was not closed regarding a return on either side of the relationship. Hoyer seemed open to Bryant returning to the North Side and Bryant shared that sentiment.

Depending on the plan, as mentioned before, Bryant may not be a fit with the 2022 Cubs. However, one could make an argument that Bryant does fit going forward.

The Fit

Kris Bryant plays five positions; six if you get crazy and recall the time he played shortstop this season. Obviously, his versatility is an immediate conversation starter. Despite the unimpressed feeling from the Giants regarding his defense, Bryant’s versatility can make up for the fact he is an average defender. A player that can play all three outfield spots, third base, and first base regularly is a weapon for any team in need of a star.

In addition, Bryant’s bat is still good. Although his numbers didn’t jump off the page last season, Bryant still stepped up and delivered when needed. 32 doubles, 25 home runs, 73 RBIs, and 86 runs scored are still impressive stats.

Also, Bryant provides a power bat that the Cubs sorely lack. There have been plenty of calls for players such as Kyle Schwarber to return. In addition, the fans are loud and proud about the desire for Nick Castellanos to once again return to Wrigley Field. However, despite all of that, maybe Kris Bryant is happy to come back to Chicago for a fair price and help the next great Cubs team win. In the end, the Cubs can really help their future if Bryant’s next contract doesn’t completely break the bank.

Now, We Wait

The MLB offseason is barely off the ground, but there are a number of reports indicating some big free agents might sign early. Is Kris Bryant one of those names? Nothing concrete has come to light, but it’s worthy of speculation. The Cubs might be incredibly busy between now and December 1. In fact, the team feels like a potential dark horse this winter.

To those outside the Cubs’ front office, there isn’t a clearly outlined offseason plan. However, there is undoubtedly a plan in place as the Cubs build for 2022 and beyond. Whether that plan includes Kris Bryant or not remains to be seen, but the Cubs should at least pick up the phone. Why not kick the tires on a reunion between the two sides? It feels like it might really make sense.

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Work as an accountant by day. Huge Chicago sports fan. Played college football and only wish I could skate well enough to play hockey. Twitter: @rnldluce Instagram: @rnldluce

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Barry Parshall
Barry Parshall
6 months ago

I respectfully disagree.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Kris Bryant, but he doesn’t fit with (what I suspect is) the Cubs’ strategy.

The Cubs traded away nearly every key player in order to re-stock a badly depleted farm system.  As a result, the Cubs will not be contending for a WS for the next couple of years while we wait for those young players to reach the big leagues.  During that time, spending big on 30-something free agents doesn’t make sense, as no single player will make the Cubs competitive.  Heck, even with Bryant, Rizzo AND Baez the Cubs weren’t competitive.

So by the time the Cubs are competitive again, Kris will be entering his declining years while barely into his 7yr/$200M deal (guessing).  Yes, Kris is awesome, but he will decline, and the Cubs can’t be stuck with albatross contracts just at a time they’ll be needing payroll flexibility to fill key roster gaps.

Instead, the strategy for 2022-23 needs to be signing reclamation projects to 1-2 year deals, hoping that some of them rebound, and then flipping them for more high-level prospects.  E.g., look what the Nats pulled off with Schwarber.  The Wade Miley signing (while he’s not a reclamation project) is another fine example – if Miley has a great season, you can bet the Cubs will trade him to a contender at the deadline.

The only former player I can maybe, possibly see bringing back is Baez.  He just turned 28, so he has a couple of extra years in him.  And he’s a “draw” – i.e., fans tune in to watch him – which is important during the next two years when top-line revenue will be a problem.  Cheers!

Barry Parshall
Barry Parshall
6 months ago

My mistake, Baez will be turning 29 in a couple of weeks. Don’t see it happening.

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