Juan Soto, Kris Bryant - and what Cubs fans are failing to understand

The Padres outfielder wouldn't just be the best player on the team - he's a generational talent.
Colorado Rockies v Miami Marlins
Colorado Rockies v Miami Marlins / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Cubs fans probably aren't any different than any other fanbase - but they certainly form deeply emotional connections to players, stretching far beyond logic and reason. That was the case with the former core, especially when it came to former NL Rookie of the Year and MVP Kris Bryant before Jed Hoyer traded him to the San Francisco Giants ahead of the 2021 trade deadline.

Now that the team is being connected to superstar-level talent in trade talks - ranging from Pete Alonso and Tyler Glasnow to Juan Soto - fans are getting cold feet about parting with the prospects acquired and developed in recent years and, at the big league level, dynamic young talent Christopher Morel.

Cubs would be getting one of the best players in baseball in Juan Soto

Morel is reportedly high on multiple team's wishlists, including the Padres - and it's not hard to see why. He comes with a half-decade plus of team control and has shown the ability to be an impactful offensive weapon already in his young career. Now, we can debate whether or not a Morel-for-Soto swap would satiate San Diego (I'm guessing not, but it's close) - but I think we need to all understand just how good Soto is.

One of the best individual single season performances in recent Cubs history came back during the team's 2016 World Series run when Kris Bryant followed up his coming out party from the year prior by bringing home National League MVP honors, earning all but one first-place vote after a 7.9 fWAR campaign.

That year, Bryant led the league with 121 runs, hitting 39 home runs, driving in 102 and adding 35 doubles for good measure. He slashed .292/.385/.554, cementing himself as a face of the franchise in a big way. Think that's impressive? It was. But what's even more impressive is the fact that in 6 MLB seasons, Juan Soto has been that good annually.

In his big league career, the former batting champ carries a .284/.421/.524 line - good for a .946 OPS, which narrowly edges Bryant's .939 mark from that historic 2016 performance. He's been as good as Bryant was that one year virtually every single season, a testament to just how great a player he has been to this point in his career.

Whether it's for one year or the next 10, Soto dramatically transforms an offense. The Cubs aren't going to come off guys like Pete Crow-Armstrong or Cade Horton in a trade, but no matter who else is involved - even if it's someone we've come to love like Morel - the return is almost sure to be a slam dunk (barring injury), because Soto has been as reliable and dominant as they come.

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