As the Chicago Cubs look to improve in 2020, there are three players in the core that shouldn’t be moved – regardless of what they could bring via trade.
Entering a crucial offseason, the Chicago Cubs are looking to make changes to ensure success in 2020 – and beyond. In recent years, the clear goal of the Cubs front office was to add to their existing core which Theo Epstein built and the team put money into.
After missing the playoffs for two straight years, the team came to the realization that they need to change how they handle things this time around. Rather than building around this core, the Cubs want to acquire talent and shake up a roster that managed just 84 wins this year. With a lack of progression within the farm there are two options left: trades and free agency.
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When it comes to the trade market, Theo Epstein and the front office have made it crystal clear that everything is on the table. As a result, rumors have run rampant and players including catcher Willson Contreras have been at the center of them.
However, when Epstein says everyone is “on the table,” this doesn’t mean everyone is going to be dealt. It just means that the organization wants to hear offers and shop players around to see their market value.
Though the organization is all in, there are still players who feel like untouchables. Among them are Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo. Though Kris Bryant has been a core member of the Cubs, he will be eligible for free agency in the 2022 offseason. His impending free agency makes him worth dealing, because the Cubs could acquire valuable assets. The question is: would they be worth it?
After two rather disappointing seasons, 2017 and 2018, Bryant bounced back in 2019 and could continue to improve especially in 2020. In 2019, the 27 year-old hit .282 with 31 homers and .903 OPS. As it is these are good numbers, and replacing his superior offense and defensive versatility would be a hard task. The reality is, if the Cubs don’t end up extending him, another team will surely pay his price.
When it comes to both Baez and Rizzo, it would be hard to imagine any Cubs team without them. Baez’s role on the team, and value as a player should be enough to keep him around for as long as possible. Over the course of the 2019 season, Baez hit .281 with 29 homers and drove in 89 runs. Arguably the best middle infielder in the National League, it would be hard to find a defensive gem like Baez anywhere else.
Now for the most consistent and possibly future captain of the Cubs, Anthony Rizzo. Over his career, Rizzo has hit .273 with 218 homers and 729 runs driven in. In 2019 alone, Rizzo hit .293 with 27 homers and 94 runs driven in.
The franchise cornerstoneis also a gem defensively at first base, as he is a great thrower with a strong arm. In addition, the 30-year old is known for more than his game play, he’s known for his character and he’s beloved by fans.
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There is no denying that this offseason remains a mystery and there is no way to predict what the Cubs will do. However, to ensure a successful 2020 season, players within the ball club’s core Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo should not be moved.