Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team to keep Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo?

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

After an 11-game skid that saw the Chicago Cubs plummet from atop the NL Central, it’s felt like a foregone conclusion they’d be sellers. Jed Hoyer publicly confirmed as much in recent comments.

But the team being sellers and actually pulling off not just one, but several, blockbuster trades involving guys like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are hardly the same thing. A new report from ESPN’s Jesse Rogers suggests the front office could keep these three guys past the July 30 deadline rather than settle for a subpar return in coming weeks.

"“This is based on the last few days of being here and talking to people in the game,” Rogers said on ESPN 1000. “It’s not gonna be that easy to get back what Jed Hoyer wants [for] the position players. My new prediction is: Báez, Rizzo, and Bryant are on this team on August 1.”"

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Seeing all three guys on this roster come August would be a huge shock to me personally, but it does make sense that Hoyer doesn’t want to be the guy who traded away a trio of franchise icons for anything less than fair value. That’s hardly the way to endear yourself to an incredibly passionate fanbase early on in your tenure.

Rogers went on to say that, of the three big position players mentioned, Bryant is definitely the likeliest to move – specifically mentioning the New York Mets as a potential landing spot. Third base has been a black hole for the Mets this season and in a highly competitive NL East, adding a former MVP who can play all over the diamond would be a huge boost.

"“That’s the team I keep hearing about. If the Mets give Jed what he’s looking for, he’ll trade [Bryant] there. But I think he might end up [staying in Chicago], get the qualifying offer, turn it down, and the Cubs will take that compensatory draft pick instead of some dreck they’re gonna get back in a trade.”"

Chicago Cubs: What happens if these guys finish out 2021 in the Windy City?

So let’s talk about what could happen if all three guys somehow finish the season in Chicago. You can bet that Hoyer will be dealing out some qualifying offers to all three which means that if Bryant, Rizzo or Baez walk in free agency, the Cubs would receive compensatory draft picks.

The qualifying offers could also weaken the market for these guys in free agency, potentially helping Hoyer bring one (or more) of them back on a more team-palatable deal. I won’t say team-friendly, because I don’t see any of them settling for something that’s clearly in the interest of the organization more than the player.

Next. Who's more valuable? Craig Kimbrel or Kris Bryant?. dark

Let’s not forget. Regardless of whether or not the team is in the hunt, letting these guys decide to walk at season’s end in free agency is a much more controllable narrative for the franchise and ownership than if they send them packing ahead of the deadline. That might seem a bit arbitrary, but given how reliant the Cubs are on attendance and folks tuning into the Marquee Network, it could be a much bigger factor than we’d all like to admit.