Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo – who returns?

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Javier Baez
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Will the Chicago Cubs move past the World Series champion core for good this winter? Or is a reunion (or reunions) in the cards? That’s been heavily debated among fans for the past month-and-a-half or so after Jed Hoyer sold off everything not bolted down at the July 30 deadline.

For our purposes, the “core” mainly refers to the Theo Epstein era centerpieces including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber. Contreras is still under a year of control next season with the Cubs, with the other four currently on other teams and set to hit free agency this winter.

This probably feels like an exhausting topic to bring up yet again. We all know what happened: Hoyer dumped the core with an eye toward the future. Rumors had swirled around potentially trading these guys for years – and now that they have been shipped off (or non-tendered in the case of Schwarber). It’s completely understandable for fans to just want to move on and build a new team for the future.

That said, Cubs brass has gone on record saying they want to get back into competition as soon as possible and there are a lot of holes that will need to be filled heading into 2022. Possible solutions could be provided by the talents of one or more of the previous core players. It is extremely unlikely that they all would return, pretty much next to zero chance, but one of those guys could certainly reunite with the North Siders. Each one of the four listed can be weighed by the pros and cons to help determine which could potentially fit well in the Cubs future plans.

Here are the “whys” and “why nots” to re-sign each guy.