National baseball writer Robert Murray and Chicago radio man Mark Carmen had Sun-Times Cubs beat reporter Russell Dorsey on their podcast discussing the Cubs offseason, including Marcus Stroman, Willson Contreras, and, yes, Kris Bryant.
“That is something I’ve been working on behind the scenes. I was told by somebody who would know Chicago: ‘I would not rule it out.’ And it’s been on my mind ever since. I’m tracking that one …. I do think Kris Bryant going back to Chicago is a realistic scenario. And the number you threw out – 27, 28 million bucks – makes a whole lotta sense …. ”– Robert Murray on The Baseball Insiders discussing a potential Kris Bryant-Cubs reunion
Here we go again. Murray’s source ‘knows’ Chicago, if that perks your interest.
WHY IT MATTERS
Let’s go over the timeline on why many believe the Cubs and Bryant couldn’t come to a long-term deal before the trade deadline in July. Again, what many ‘believe.’
1.) The service time manipulation in order to receive an extra year of control in 2015, leading to Bryant fighting it — more so paving the way for future players than spite towards the Cubs.
2.) The fact he is a free agent at the age of 30.
3.) Perhaps because they did not get an extension done the offseason after the 2016 season.
4.) Scott Boras clients typically don’t sign extensions before their free-agent season.
5.) Rumors Bryant wanted out of Chicago, despite continuously saying he wanted to be in Chicago.
6.) Many think he’s isn’t good at baseball anymore.
Am I missing anything?
We have stated time and time again on the Cubs On Tap podcast, as recent as just a few weeks ago, that the Cubs would regret it if they do not find a way to retain Bryant. He has been nothing but a role model to the community and a light shined on an organization with a dark cloud over it the last three seasons.
Many on social media thought he did not want to play in Chicago long-term, but once he made his first return to Wrigley Field after the trade deadline, anyone who thought he didn’t love the organization is a fool.
Only time will tell, and nothing will happen until the lockout concludes, but the Cubs should do everything they can to bring him back to a city in which he will forever be recognized as a legend.
Bryant posted 3.6 fWAR in 2021. He finished with a .267/.353/.481 slash line in 144 games. He hit 25 homers and drove in 73 runs. Statistically, it was not Bryant’s best season, but it was still productive.
Yes, his wins above replacement figure has actually dropped each season since 2016. When healthy, however, he’s as valuable as any player in baseball. Since 2015, only nine players have a higher fWAR than Bryant. The four third basemen are Jose Ramirez (33.2), Nolan Arenado (32.1), Manny Machado (31.8), and Kris Bryant (31.8).
However, he has proven he can be a very versatile player, playing all three outfield spots. Injuries derailed him in 2018 and in small spurts of 2019 and 2020, but he is healthy now and was in 2021.
His market will be interesting to watch play out. There’s no doubt Bryant will land himself a contract worth at least $25 million in average annual value.
Nonetheless, to me, it does not matter. Bring Kris Bryant home.
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