Chicago Cubs: A Kris Bryant trade won’t come until this summer

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The guy has done just about everything imaginable in his first six years in the big leagues. He’s gone from Minor League Player of the Year to Rookie of the Year, MVP and World Series champion.

It’s been a wild ride for Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. You’d think this is the type of player you’d, I don’t know, maybe build a franchise around, no?

It was a dream first two seasons for Bryant. He won NL Rookie of the Year in 2015 and helped the Cubs reach the NLCS for the first time since 2003. Then he had the ultimate season in 2016, winning NL MVP and leading the Cubs to their first championship in 108 years. Everything seemed perfect and this love story between Chicago and its star was just getting started.

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Or not. It hasn’t been that easy since. Bryant struggled badly in 2020. He battled injuries and hit a career-worst .206 with only four home runs. He also went 0-for-8 in the team’s two postseason games against the Marlins.

The former first-rounder has been in trade rumors since the 2018 offseason and yet nothing has happened. Even though those rumors have continued off-and-on for years, it’s never really felt like Bryant was about to be moved.

As a team, the Cubs seemed like they were still going for it. They were trying to add where they could and didn’t really sell on key pieces.

Now, this offseason has come and the feel around the organization has changed. We have seen massive turnover already this winter. Theo Epstein, Kyle Schwarber, and Jon Lester (among many, many others) have moved on.

Cubs cannot trade Kris Bryant without seeing him play in 2021

There have been multiple teams linked to Bryant this offseason. The Mets, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Braves have all been linked to Bryant. Now let me say, I hope the team doesn’t trade Bryant. But the way this offseason has gone it seems like it’s going to happen at some point.

But all signs seem to point to that moment coming ahead of the trade deadline – not in the next two weeks. It just makes sense for the Cubs to wait it out at this point. If they trade the former MVP now, they’re selling at an all-time low price. He’s coming off the worst showing of his career and given what you’ve seen other stars traded for this winter, I hope Jed Hoyer is a little wary of pulling the trigger on a trade right now.

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The Cubs have to hope that Bryant comes out and has a great first half of the 2021 season and a team that is making a playoff push is looking for a slugging third baseman. That will be the only way Chicago could get even close to an impactful return for Bryant.