Chicago Cubs: Win now – and keep building for the future
Never mind the fact Bryant put up some pretty impressive numbers yet again in 2019. He cut his strikeout rate from the year prior, while improving his walk rate. After battling through a power-sapping shoulder injury, the former MVP and Rookie of the Year jumped back into the picture with a .239 ISO – a mark well above league average.
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He got on base at a .382 clip – a mark that trailed only perennial on-base machine Anthony Rizzo among Cubs teammates. All this comes together in a 135 wRC+, which is his highest mark since 2017. In short, Bryant was, once again, a very, very good player.
Would trading someone like Kris Bryant help replenish a farm system that Baseball America ranked as the second-worst in all of baseball at the trade deadline? Of course. He’s one of the best players in the game – period.
But with just two years left in the Cubs’ current championship window (barring Epstein managing to extend it during that time) – losing someone like Bryant in the middle of the Cubs order would make competing a much taller task.
"“I look at them (Bryant and Baez) both the same,” Epstein said. “They’re fantastic players. I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive. I think they’re both hugely important and it would be hard to see them out of a Cubs uniform. But we’re at a transition point and we have to do whatever is best for the Cubs. I hope it includes both those guys.”"
I’m not saying Chicago won’t have trade discussions regarding virtually every player of this roster in the coming weeks and months. In fact, I believe the team may very well move on from their two-time All-Star catcher in Contreras. But it’ll be a fine balance in retooling for the future and putting together a 25-man mix of guys ready to compete for a World Series title again in 2020.