As we all remember, the Chicago Cubs made the difficult decision to part ways with their core from 2016. The drastic sell-off at the 2021 trade deadline was painful for Cubs fans but something that has set this organization up for future success. One name that was part of the sad departures was Kris Bryant. While we have a lot to be excited about with Patrick Wisdom’s hot start to 2023, it’s good to check in with the former MVP.
The Cubs traded Bryant to the Giants in exchange for prospects Alex Canario (#10 in the Cubs farm system) and Caleb Killian (#17). He was used as a rental in San Francisco and signed a seven-year, $182 million deal with the Rockies that off-season. While many fans were sad to see Bryant go, we can all agree that spending $182 million would be a significant risk given the injury concerns. To also give some perspective, the sum of the contracts of Cody Bellinger, Nico Hoerner, Marcus Stroman and Ian Happ is $184 million.
Bryant spent 2022 with a lot of those concerns brought to light, as he only played 42 games. However, he seems to have found not only his health, but his stride as well to start the 2023 season. He’s played in 23 of the Rockies’ first 26 games, batting .303 with three home runs and an OPS of .823.
It’s also worth noting that the former third-baseman has switched to right field. He spent the start of his time in Colorado in left field but has moved to the other side of the outfield to manage his body better. While we’re rooting for KB to have a bounce-back year, it’s almost a relief not locking up $182 on one guy who has to bring ‘load management’ into play.
The Rockies currently hold the fourth-worst record in baseball with just eight wins through their first 26 games. The front office has to have some concerns as they currently hold a team ERA of 5.09, good for 26th in baseball. They chose where to spend the money and it has not led to results. This just emphasizes the great work Hoyer and his front office have done as they didn’t just spend money because they had it this past off-season.
While we can only scratch our heads at the Rockies’ front office, we should be even more trusting in the Cubs organization. They’ve strategically built this team and it should be no surprise (although it is too many) that this group is off to the solid start they are, winning 13 of their first 22 games. It’s a long season ahead but the Cubs can find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt. Not only is this team set up to compete now, but they’ve built a foundation to bring long-term results. The breakup with the 2016 core left a sour taste, but we will look back on it as the best decision for the future.