It remains to be seen what the Cubs will do in the trade market in the weeks ahead, but like I said yesterday, the team’s direction in July trades will bear a direction relationship to whatever they think they can do long-term with their impending free agent positional trio, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javy Báez. The Cubs are going to want to know not only how competitive they see themselves this year, but how realistically they believe they can re-up with one or two or all three of these guys after the season (presuming no in-season extension is happening).
In the meantime, Bryant says he’s still not worrying about what looms, and instead jokes about his future with Rizzo.
“Just joking in the cage,” Bryant said of being a package deal this offseason with Rizzo, per The Athletic. “Anthony will be on the tee, ‘I can’t go anywhere without you. I need you.’ Stuff like that. We got our pitch. It’s like ‘Step Brothers.’ We got to go in and get the job …. ”
Kris Bryant on proving people wrong, the Cubs’ financial situation, trade-deadline chatter and pitching a package deal with Anthony Rizzo as free agents: “It’s like ‘Step Brothers.’ We got to go in and get the job.” https://t.co/LNooMpWFuI
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) June 8, 2021
If you’re unfamiliar with the reference:
I would absolutely watch that.
“Maybe that’s why we are having more fun, because it might be the end,” Bryant said. “It might be the last time I play with Anthony Rizzo. Who knows? Maybe we’re a package deal. We’ve said it plenty of times to each other. I think that’s why a lot of guys are really embracing it and enjoying it, because it could be the last go-round. A lot of us certainly hope it’s not. That’s the way the game goes sometimes. We’re at different points in our careers. But there’s something to be said about us just really enjoying it — and it being potentially our last year together.”
In reality, if it’s not the Cubs, the chances Bryant and Rizzo wind up on the same team next year are extremely slim. Few teams will have the budget available to ink Bryant, let alone both Bryant and Rizzo (to say nothing of having the positional need for both). But, hey, if a team DID land both of them, man, what a boon to the lineup. Take a decent team with a couple holes on the infield or in the outfield or at DH, and then you immediately plug in two well above-average bats.
… which I suppose is your reminder of how much the Cubs standing to lose if both guys walk after the season (or are traded sooner). It’s easy to convince yourself of who can step in at a given position and maybe have decent upside, but actually replacing seven years of relatively consistent excellence from both corner infield positions? Oof. We all know these guys are impending free agents, but I think sometimes we sleep on just how big of a hit to the offense (and defense!) that could be.
Either way, it’s sad to think about how it’s much easier to picture these two as the guys in ‘Step Brothers’ than the guys playing on two different teams next year. This is their seventh season together, and it’s hard to believe the eighth is more likely than not to see them separated.