Chicago Cubs: What could have been?
So, what could have happened had Kris Bryant decided to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays? Well for one, he would not have been available in the 2013 MLB Draft. As the Cubs held that number two pick, and the plan to go with Jon Gray out of Oklahoma as an alternative to Bryant, the consensus “what-if” prediction is Gray.
Assuming the debut of Gray using the timeline of Bryant’s debut, Gray would have joined a rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. He certainly would have slotted in immediately as a high-upside rookie.
Meanwhile, the team would have probably kept Jeimer Candelario as the third base option, as he landed as the number 11 overall prospect for the team and neared his debut at that time.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, would have seemingly had their third base cornerstone in Kris Bryant. The decision to trade for Josh Donaldson more than likely would never have happened. Signing Vladimir Guerrero Jr., may not have happened as they would have had their guy in Bryant.
In hindsight, both clubs benefitted greatly from Bryant’s unwillingness to sign eight years ago. Toronto now has the best prospect in baseball, and the Cubs have one of the best players in baseball. Bryant is one cornerstone of the Chicago Cubs. In reality, it is difficult to imagine what a Bryant-less Cubs team would look like.
Cubs fans’ mantra since Epstein joined the organization is “In Theo We Trust.” Had the team missed the boat on Bryant, Epstein would have worked his magic in another way to find success for the franchise. That being said, Wrigleyville is thankful the opportunity to draft Bryant fell to them in 2013 and even more thankful that this time around, Bryant said yes.