Kris Bryant will have plenty of suitors during his high-profile free agency this offseason.
Bryant had spent his entire professional career in the Chicago Cubs organization. He was a four-time NL All-Star on the North Side of Chicago, winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2015, NL MVP in 2016 and most importantly, made the final assist to help the Cubs win Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. While he plays the rest of 2021 in the Bay Area, his free agency will be utterly fascinating.
What teams could be in the mix to sign Bryant ahead of his age-30 season during free agency?
Kris Bryant: 3 MLB teams who should think about signing him in his free agency
Of course, Bryant would welcome a return to Wrigley Field if the money is right
No doubt Bryant got emotional about being traded at the deadline. He has so many great memories playing for the Cubs. However, the team’s overall finances and downturn of late largely contributed to the biggest Chicago fire … sale we have ever seen. Ownership says it would be open to bringing back any of its former stars, but one has to think Bryant is more likely than others.
At the start of the season, Bryant was essentially a guarantee to walk in his free agency, with first baseman Anthony Rizzo likely heading back to the Cubs on a new contract and shortstop Javy Baez being somewhere around a 50-50 proposition. Now that Baez and Rizzo are in New York, we have to wonder if Bryant is now the most likely former Cubs star to return to them on a new deal.
The only thing we know is closer Craig Kimbrel is not coming back, as he pushes for a World Series trip on the South Side. Given that Bryant was playing at an MVP-level in May, as well as displaying great defensive versatility, he might be the most valuable player the Cubs could potentially bring back. It seems like a bit of a long shot at this point, but we can’t cross off Chicago entirely just yet.
There is a chance either Bryant or Rizzo returns to Chicago on a new deal, but absolutely not both.