Cubs Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Tom Ricketts, and Jed Hoyer – all greedy and all guilty

Kris Bryant is likely to be dealt before the July 30th trade deadline because greed sucks.

The Cubs need to tear it down to the studs to hang another banner from the rafters.

Team president Jed Hoyer is working the phones trying to get back some value in exchange for the spate of pending free agents his roster sports.  Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Craig Kimbrel are going to command a Brink’s truck filled with cash this offseason, and the Cubs have shown themselves to be unwilling to do what it takes to sign any of them to a long-term deal.

The problem with the Cubs roster is that the best players – the lynchpins of that 2016 World Champion team – suffer from the disorder that affects so many in business and sports – greed.  And they aren’t alone.

The Cubs went into the 2016 season a joyous and innocent group that believed in a fairy tale, and they exited it men determined to profit from turning that fairy tale into a reality.  Sadly, there is no cure for greed because there is no such thing as enough money.

Players with a million dollars covet 10 million – and on – and on – and on.  They pine for the days when the game wasn’t complicated by concerns about cash, but refuse to do anything about it.  Does the life of a baseball player, or anyone else, change for the better because he “earns” $80 million is his career instead of $300 million?  Of course not.  At some point, you can no longer see the top of your stack, and quality of life should trump quantity of cash.  But that never happens.

Diseases without a cure require quarantine, and so Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, and Kimbrel are very likely to be segregated from the rest of the Cubs.  Those players aren’t the only people affiliated with the Cubs who are motivated by greed.  No, there are no heroic altruists in this passion play.

Bryant got an up close and personal look at avarice from the other side of the business when owner Tom Ricketts and then team president Theo Epstein decided to slow Bryant’s promotion to the Cubs to delay his potential free agency until after the 2021 season.

Bryant striking back by refusing an extension is a reasonable answer to the Cubs idiotic and short-sighted business decision in April, 2015.  They got Bryant for an additional year on the cheap, but lost him forever as they taught him how business works.

There is a non-greed related reason for the Cubs to deal some of their best players too.  Management has shown an aversion to minor league talent for so long that the farm system is a virtual wasteland.  The soon-to-be former Cubs need to be auctioned to the highest bidders because the farm system is bereft of championship level talent, and re-stocking it requires valuable pieces trundle in the opposite direction.  Remember when the Cubs traded prospects Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for Jose Quintana?  Now, the Cubs need to do that in reverse.

It will be sad to see Bryant, Baez, and Rizzo hug teammates as they pack their things to head somewhere far from Wrigley Field, but not as sad as it has been to watch these guys play passionless and robotic baseball since ending that 108-year run of mediocrity.

2 thoughts on “Cubs Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Tom Ricketts, and Jed Hoyer – all greedy and all guilty

  1. Boca

    I generally agree with the premise of the article. The team has to be rebuilt from the ground up. But I take significant issue with two takes in this article.

    The first is lumping Kimbrel in with the rest of these guys. Kimbrel was unsigned as a FA the last go round.
    He took a “cheaper” deal from the Cubs than other less renowned relievers took. And he has a club vested option on his present deal – so he is signed sealed and delivered for next year. The Cubs should go ahead and trade him. They have not tried to extend him, nor should they. So the “greed” mantra with him seems misplaced. It isn’t the same thing as Baez asking for $200 million to sign an extension.

    Second, the farm system is not a “virtual wasteland”. To suggest it is so, is incredibly lazy. The Cubs system presently ranks 17th. And it will move up significantly higher shortly for two reasons. First, and foremost, their best players on the farm are in A ball or have just moved to AA this year. As other teams graduate players some of those Cubs prospects will move up the rankings list. Brennan Davis, Cristian Hernandez (the Cubs consider him the best international signing they’ve made in the last decade), Ryan Jensen, Brailyn Marquez, Reginald Preciado, Kohl Franklin, Manny Rodriquez (just played in the futures game) are but a handful of the guys they have with real projection. Second, they are going to get back some solid quality in the trades they are about to make. And, I really have to stress this, the farm is quite deep at present. Beyond Davis and Marquez it may not have guys who project as clear potential All-Stars, but it is a really deep system. The Cubs boast close to a couple dozen prospects ranked 40+ or higher. For ranking 17th that is a lot of 40+ guys. So when they trade they have flexibility to really think about what types of guys they need and aren’t just playing grab and go. You already saw this in the first trade as one need on the farm is more power bats. They traded Joc Pederson who they were not going to resign after this season and swapped him for the Braves minor league power hitter of the year from 2019 (a 40+ guy). Building a core is all about depth. Most guys don’t make it. The more you have who have projection the better your big league club will be. And the Cubs also have a nice mix of arms and bats in the farm system. And the pitchers are a nice mix of starters and relievers too. Where they could not previously develop pitchers, they are now on the verge of seeing some guys really start to contribute.

    A rebuild is coming. But because the farm is in a much better place than when Jed and Theo took over, it is not going to take as long to see another competitive team.

  2. Jim

    👆🏻 What he said. At some point you can’t patch it together to consistently win and you have to burn it down and start fresh.


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