If the Chicago Cubs can only afford one of Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, who should it be?
The Chicago Cubs had an unprecedented offseason, and by that we mean the team spent little to no money on free agents. Instead, the team appeared to be pivoting towards rebuilding by flipping some of their key players with the purpose of freeing money off the books.
But now, the Cubs have a difficult choice to make. Third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Javier Baez are due for new contracts by the end of the 2021 season, and the team may realistically only be able to afford one of the MLB stars. So, who do they keep?
Baez vs. Bryant: who should the Cubs keep?
In 2015, Bryant was a hyped prospect in the Cubs’ farm system. Fans clamored for him to make the Opening Day roster, but the team opted to keep him in the minors for more than a week in a display of time service manipulation. The wait did prove to be worth it, as he won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2015, while winning the NL MVP and World Series in 2016.
After those great two seasons, Bryant’s production stalled out, mostly due to a shoulder injury in the 2018 campaign. Plus this past season, Bryant had one of the lowest fielding percentages amongst all third basemen (.947).
The writing was on the wall for Bryant for the past year, as the team placed him on the trading block, but didn’t receive an offer they deemed was worth it. So, they kept him.
As for Baez, he has the best opportunity to remain in the Windy City for the foreseeable future. While his career batting numbers don’t match Bryant’s, Baez makes up for it while on the field. In fact, Baez (41) has fewer errors committed in six seasons at shortstop than Bryant’ five seasons at third (70)!
What further gives Baez the edge is that the star infielder and the team were negotiating a contract extension prior to the initial start of the 2020 season. Those talks have since stalled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and likely won’t pick up until we reach some semblance of normal.
Given the Cubs’ actions towards both players, it’s quite obvious that they view Baez as their most valuable player. Let’s face it, the Cubs have put Bryant on the trading block and left him there for over a year for a reason. He’s simply not in their future plans.
Besides, Baez has proven that he’s well worth the massive amount of money that will head his way.
Winner: Javier Baez