People, I'm tired. No, seriously... I could not be more weary from reading all the nonsense on the interwebs surrounding poor Kris Bryant, including all the bad trade scenarios, the knuckleheads who insist he's a "bum," and the near constant insistence by even supposed "legit" journalists that he has no value to the Cubs anymore.
If I'm this tired, imagine how poor Kris Bryant and his beautiful wife feel having to read and listen to this rubbish day after day for the last year plus? The corpse of the Cubs' 2020 season wasn't even cold before talks of trading Sparkles started up again, and the chatter has been nothing short of relentless... we're talking two and three posts a day from various blogs and genuine media outlets on the Cubs' intentions on Bryant. And you know what? I've fully come around! Let's do it... let's trade Sparkles! Why?
1. Cubs fans have been terrible to Kris, and he deserves better.
"Wait!" you might be thinking. "This does NOT apply to me!" Yeah? Good! It doesn't apply to me either! I love Kris and have always appreciated the fact that he is, in fact, the best player on this Cubs team. I'm the one who keeps writing about that very thing! The problem is that I fear we've reached critical mass on doom boner/meatball sentiment in the fanbase toward Kris that he is, in fact, not good.
I mean, I'm not sure what kind of "fans" the Cubs Live site dogwhistles, but who ARE these people judging Sparkles based on a 60 game, injury-plagued season? Let's not forget that in 2020, Kris went through Some Things:
I don't know about you, but I don't see anyone saying the Brewers should unload Yelich for peanuts because he had a really, super bad season in 2020. (Although thank goodness no one is saying he's better than Mike Trout anymore. Because he never was.)
I know it's funny, but it's not nice to laugh Mike!
It's not just the fans that are a problem, though, which brings me to my next point.
2. The media and fan sites suck and have been propagating tired rubbish about Bryant for two years.
Did you hear that the Cubs could very well non-tender Kris Bryant by the deadline this offseason? In case you don't know what that means, when a player is still eligible for salary arbitration, a team has the choice of whether or not to tender them a contract each year rather than offering them a contract then going through the arbitration process. It makes the player a free agent, sure, but also means that the team doesn't have to pay them.
It also means that a whole bunch of Cubs bloggers and supposedly legit sports journalists thought Kris Freaking Bryant had so little value to the Cubs this offseason that they would actually consider non-tendering him and making him a free agent to avoid paying him in the event that they can't work out a trade for him. Bryant is currently set to make $18.6 million in 2021, his last year of salary arbitration, the last year of control that the Cubs fought so hard to obtain, and just $2 million more than the option the Cubs recently picked up on Anthony Rizzo.
Don't take this as a slight at Rizzo, but let me just say this--Bryant is the better player, and he always has been. Furthermore, while KB only played in 34 games in 2020, Rizzo's 58 games only yielded a 103 wRC+, meaning that he didn't exactly set the National League on fire. What I'm trying to say is that if the Cubs are picking up a $16.5 million option on Rizzo, it's practically ludicrous to think that they'd non-tender Bryant.
Except OH MY GOD the daily posts, tweets and articles across the web from writers who were convinced a non-tender was a possibility. I got to the point where I muted the term "non-tender" because I got so tired of seeing the taeks from people who I thought knew better. I'm not going to link them here because they know who they are, but honestly... it was an insult to my intelligence as a Cubs fan. Of course, Monday morning this came up on my phone:
And make no mistake: That headline isn't saying, "The Cubs will tender Bryant a contract vs. non-tendering him." It's saying, "They will tender him a contract because they won't have a trade in place before the deadline." It's that simple.
But this is just par for the course with Cubs "media" where Bryant is concerned, at least in the last two years. There has been nearly nothing but trade talk, non-tender talk, service time talk, blah blah blah and almost no defense of the man who is, let me say again, the actual best player on the team. That's not even taking into account the idiotic trade "scenarios" from the national media, like this "gem":
When the most positive attention he gets is for saying a swear word in a media availability, maybe it's time we all step back and think about our life choices.
And while Kris may say he doesn't care, I just don't buy it, which brings me to my final point.
3. Kris and his lovely family simply deserve better.
I don't remember when I first said it on social media, but I was only half joking when I said that Kris Bryant should be traded to a team whose fans would finally appreciate him for the great player he is and face of the organization he should be. We should adore Kris the way we do Javy and Tony. We should be rooting for his health and his success, doting on his baby son and wife the way we do a certain wiener dog and appreciating the little things he does in the game like his baserunning magic. Once upon a time we did focus on those things, but now because of his recent injuries all we can talk about is his imminent departure from the team.
And because of that, maybe it's time. It's time for Sparkles, the beautiful Jessica, and the adorable Kyler to find a home somewhere else. It's time for KB to have at least a year of stability somewhere with fans who will appreciate him and what he brings to their team. Someone suggested that the Oakland A's might be a fit, and you know what? I love that idea! Send him to the Yay A's! for a season and watch their fans buy his jerseys and cheer for him and love him in a way Cubs fans haven't since 2017, because A's fans are like that. Let's do it (for the right return, of course).
I'll be rooting for him no matter where he winds up, knowing full well that after he's gone I can look around at everything in the Cubs orbit and think, "It's not you Kris, it's us." It's definitely us.
And for those who might be wondering if this is just Staci speaking, it's not. She's just more eloquent than oafs like me. Imagine being able to draft a talent like KB and then basically run him out of town for terrible 60 game stretch in the middle of the pandemic. Y'all don't remember the Shane Andrews/Steve Beuchele/Willie Greene/Gary Gaetti days. Y'all deserve what's coming. -AssMatt
To echo what both Staci and Matt said, KB has easily been the best Cubs player since coming into the league. Stats alone paint a picture but not the whole picture. He's accumulated a 28.3 WAR and has a wRC+ of 136 AFTER a terrible 2020. Can we also not forget that KB is a human who had his first child in the middle of a global pandemic? I think we can forgive a down year, especially when his worst year was a 125 wRC+ in an injury shortened 2018. I'm with Staci. Cubs fans don't deserve the Bryant family and if he is traded, I hope they treat him as well as we should have all along. Kris Bryant is my favorite Cubs player. We care more about our guys as people on this website. Of course I want him to succeed in Chicago, but ultimately I want him to succeed and be happy. Here's to trading KB and me being a fan of whoever he goes to (Don't worry, I'll still be a Cubs fan for life) and if Kris or Jess read this. We love you guys. - Calerb
Trading Kris Bryant doesn't make sense unless the Cubs are rebuilding and he's not getting an extension. Period. Trading him now when he's at arguably his worst value with just one year of control and coming off a brutal performance makes no sense. The Cubs are coming off a division title and are bringing back most of the pieces that got them there. A ton of salary in Jon Lester and Tyler Chatwood is off the books. There just aren't a lot of ways that trading KB now makes more sense than trading him earlier on or letting him play out the year. These silly baseball pundits need something to talk about regardless of whether it actually makes sense or not. Better to not speak and have us think you are smart rather than speak and reveal how foolish you are. -Pronk