The Hot Stove seems to be heating up, both in terms of free agency and the trade market. That could translate into one fan favorite on the North Side being on the move before spring training.
According to Buster Olney, “informed speculation” the latest Kris Bryant rumors have him ending up with either the Toronto Blue Jays or New York Mets – which would obviously spell the end of his Cubs tenure. The 2016 National League MVP has been constantly criticized in recent years and, last week, spoke of a desire to find joy in playing the game as he once did.
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In recent days, we heard reports connecting Bryant to Toronto – along with former NL Cy Young finalist and ERA leader Kyle Hendricks. The Mets have been a speculative on-again, off-again possibility for Bryant all winter long. Given their other moves, namely trading for Carlos Carrasco and Francisco Lindor, adding the Chicago star would be the cherry on top of their offseason.
Bryant is coming off the worst season of his big league career. He managed a measly .644 OPS, barely hit .200 and was swinging through hittable pitches for much of the year. Tensions seemed to peak late in the year when he let the curtain down and spoke his mind bluntly for really the first time in his career.
Pair his poor showing last year with the belief the Cubs don’t want to eat any of his $19.5 million salary and you can see right away that Chicago isn’t going to get a top-tier return in a deal, regardless of who’s on the other side of it.
Only way Kris Bryant rumors stop is when the Cubs finally trade him
Honestly, this isn’t an ‘if’ type of thing – it’s a ‘when’. Kris Bryant is going to be traded in the next six months whether you like it or not. It’s just a matter of whether or not Jed Hoyer can put together a deal before the season starts or if team wait and see if the former first-rounder bounces back with a strong first half.
Once he’s dealt, Chicago better hope they get at least someone in return who is big league-ready because the team’s already shoddy depth gets even worse without him in the picture. Most depth charts have him as the top guy at the hot corner and the first outfielder off the bench. Without him, a guy like David Bote better be ready to shine – and no one has any idea who handles left field in that situation.
Start coming to terms with it, Cubs fans. The Kris Bryant rumors aren’t just smoke. They’re signs of a fire – one that’s already burning behind the scenes at Wrigley Field as the organization sets to embark on another lengthy rebuild.