The Chicago Cubs finished 34-26 after a 60-game season and ended up winning their third division title in 5 years, and hosted the Wild card series against the Miami Marlins, which didn’t go the Cubs’ way.
The Cubs entered the off-season with a lot of question marks, like are they going to be entering a rebuild, or what? Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Javier Baez are all entering their final year under contract, with Willson Contreras only under contract for two more years. So would it be in the teams’ best interest to trade away the core? If not all 5 players, maybe just trade away one or two?
Well, the first move for the Cubs this off-season wasn’t trading away one of their core players, it actually was Theo Epstein. Who stepped down as president of baseball operations after 5 incredible years. Epstein is the one who built this Cubs team into what it is today, oh and he did end the Cubs 108-year championship drought in 2016, in case you forgot.
Do you know who took over for Epstein as president of baseball operations? It was Jed Hoyer, who said in his introductory press conference, that the team is not engaged in any extension talks with any of their players, which is tough to see. They have already started a rebuild by bringing in a new president of baseball operations and a new GM, as a new era has begun in Chicago.
Hoyer knew taking this new position as president of baseball operations was going to be challenging with the core players entering their final years under team control. So, as the year goes on, we’ll see how he handles it.
Kris Bryant’s Career with the Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs drafted Kris Bryant with the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. Making his MLB debut on April 17th, 2015 against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, not the debut he wanted as he went 0-4 with three strikeouts. He’d figure it out though, as he went on to win NL Rookie of the year, slashing .275/.369/.488/.858 with 26 home runs, 99 runs batted in, 154 hits, 87 runs scored, in 151 games played, incredible.
After his Rookie of the year campaign in 2015, Bryant had an even better 2016. Hitting 39 home runs, with 102 runs batted in. Finished ahead of Daniel Murphy, Corey Seager, Anthony Rizzo, and Nolan Arenado, Bryant won NL MVP in just his second year in the MLB.
Cubs’ fans know that rumors about the Cubs trading Bryant have been around since what last year? The Washington Nationals have popped up again as a potential trade target to acquire Bryant.
After a disappointing 2020 season for Bryant, his value isn’t as high as it was last year. So maybe it is best for the Cubs to trade him now, we’ll see.
Anthony Rizzo’s Career with the Chicago Cubs
Anthony Rizzo was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 6th round of the 2007 MLB draft and didn’t make his MLB debut until 2011 with the San Diego Padres.
The Cubs ended up acquiring Rizzo in 2012 for Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na. One year after trading for him, the Cubs signed Rizzo to a 7-year $41 million dollar contract extension on May 12th, 2013, which will expire after the 2021 season because the team picked up his option for the 2021 season.
Averaging about 25 home runs from 2013-2019, and has four gold gloves in the last 5 years, Rizzo has been arguably one of the best first basemen in Cubs history, without a doubt.
Maybe Rizzo is one of the players the team keeps and signs an extension with.
Javier Baez’s Career with the Chicago Cubs
Ever since bursting onto the scene with the Chicago Cubs in 2011, Javier Baez has been known as “El Mago” meaning the Magician because of his defensive skills playing shortstop.
Finally, Baez has won his first gold glove in 2020 which was long overdue. Baez also won NLCS MVP in 2016 slashing .318/.333/.500/.833 in six games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Entering his third year of arbitration, Baez will be a free agent after the 2021 season. Just 27 years old, would the Cubs be willing to offer an extension to Baez to keep him around longer?
Kyle Schwarber’s career with the Chicago Cubs
2015 was Kyle Schwarber’s MLB debut after being drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB draft.
The 2020 season for Kyle Schwarber was terrible, to say the least. He slashed .188/.308/.393/.701 with 11 home runs and 24 runs batted in. If I remember correctly, rumors about the Cubs trading Schwarber surfed the internet for a while.
Fans thought he’d be better at playing DH in the AL because of his defensive skills, but since the DH recently came over to the NL last year, maybe they’d consider keeping him based on his power numbers the last few years.
Willson Contreras’ Career with the Chicago Cubs
What a start for Willson Contreras with the Chicago Cubs. He wasn’t even drafted by the Cubs, they signed him as an amateur free agent in 2009.
Made his MLB debut on June 19, 2016, and went deep in his first major league at-bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates, couldn’t get any better than that.
Since he entered the league, he’s been one of the best catchers in the NL. I’d put him right behind J.T Realmuto.
If the Cubs end up keeping one of their 5 core players, I’d want it to be Contreras, if I’m being honest.
Hoyer and the Cubs could potentially go into full rebuild mode or they could resign all their core players, which I don’t see happening, but who knows.