5 biggest questions facing the Chicago Cubs in 2021

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Kris Bryant / Chicago Cubs
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Is this the end of the road for the Cubs and Kris Bryant?

No matter what the next few months bring, Kris Bryant will leave a lasting legacy on the North Side. The former first-rounder won Rookie of the Year in 2015, following it up with a World Series ring and NL MVP honors in 2016. From 2015 to 2019, he was one of the most valuable players in all of Major League Baseball.

But coming off a lackluster performance in 2020 and making nearly $20 million in his final year of control, Bryant is a prime trade chip for the organization. All offseason, trade rumors connected the Cubs third baseman to teams like the Braves, Mets, Dodgers and Nationals. But the winter has come and gone and he’s still here in Chicago.

Why did a deal never come to fruition? Because Bryant’s trade value is at an all-time low. He’s coming off the worst season of his professional career, he’s battled injuries the last few years and hasn’t come close to matching his early-career numbers in some time. Both he and the team need him to re-establish himself early on this season.

It’s not impossible for Bryant to play out the season with the Cubs and end up returning on a new deal after testing free agency, but I wouldn’t consider it particularly likely to happen, either. The next three weeks will be critical in determining Bryant’s future in the Windy City.