Chicago Cubs: Projecting the 2021 Opening Day lineup

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Bryant and Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Bryant and Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: One last go-round for Bryzzo?

With rumors swirling and contracts expiring at the end of the season, this very well could be the last time you’ll see Bryzzo take the field on Opening Day.

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have been stalwarts in the Opening Day lineup for the Cubs since 2016, and would have been together an extra year in 2015 if not for the contract manipulation with Bryant that took place. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and it’s hard to envision both being on the 2022 Opening Day roster given the fact the Cubs haven’t extended anyone in the core group yet.

Regardless of the contracts and the fact this might be their last merry-go-round, there’s a reason these two guys have been at the top of the lineup for the Cubs quite often over the past six seasons when healthy – they’re really good at getting on base. Bryant, despite his nagging injuries and struggles over the past several seasons, still owns a career OBP of .380, while his counterpart at first base sports a sterling .372 career mark of his own. With their ability to get on base and score runs at the top of the lineup, you can be sure these two will be somewhere in the first four hitters.

After that, you’re going to see a combination of the two right-handed sluggers, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras. Baez, while not the on-base guy that Contreras is, gives the Cubs a presence whenever he gets on base and is always making things happen with his feet and instincts on the bases. Contreras, who may play even more with Victor Caratini shipped off to San Diego in the Yu Darvish deal, is a possible MVP candidate with his prowess at and behind the dish.

Unfortunately, Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez are all free agents after the season, while Contreras has one extra year of control. The Cubs haven’t extended any of them yet, you can be sure the front office is going to get superb years from all if healthy given the fact they’ll be playing for big contracts next offseason.