Not only did Bryant have to deal with several nagging injuries in 2020 that affected his performance, he also had to deal with endless trade chatter that at some point becomes a distraction.
Professional athletes deal with these situations all the time, sure, but they are human beings, too.
IMO, KB & Baez deserve a pass for having poor 2020 seasons.
1) They have newborns at home = Family distractions.
2) They have their futures on their minds = Greedy Agents, #SMH.
— Boxers & Ballers (@BCBeatWriters) October 3, 2020
When they become attached to a certain city and start living their life there, with everything that comes with it, it’s not easy to put their mind at ease.
Changing teams also means changing cities, talking the family into the whole idea of moving and starting a new life, leaving family and friends behind.
These players often have kids, and they would also be leaving their friends behind, not to mention changing schools.
The Icon Of A Generation
At one point in his career, Bryant surely thought about the possibility of being a Cub for life.
If you ask most fans, he should have been a Cub for life, but his camp and the team could never agree on a contract extension, and instead focused on fighting over a year of service time.
Kris Bryant should’ve been a Cub for life. Thank you for everything KB. We love & appreciate you so much. Wishing you nothing but the best. 😢💔
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) July 30, 2021
They let time go by without really focusing on extending his stay in Chicago, and ended up being forced to trade him to the Giants for an underwhelming return.
After all, we are talking about a 29-year-old performer still in his prime with a stellar track record and excellent present performance.
He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2015, hitting .275/.369/.488 with 26 homers and a .858 OPS.
He was the National League MVP in 2016, slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers, 121 runs, and a .939 OPS.
Most importantly, he led the Cubs to a title, one that broke a drought that lasted over 100 years.
It isn’t fair that he had to endure the trade rumors for months, thinking about his future and his family every time he went to bat or he took the field.
But now, at long last, he can get through the season with some semblance of peace.
It’s important to point out that, as a pending free agent, his long-term future is still up in the air.
There is a chance that he impresses in San Francisco and the Giants make him their long-term third baseman.
But that hasn’t happened yet.
Even still, Bryant can play with some peace of mind over the next two or three months.
Lessons To Be Learned
If this trade deadline taught the Cubs something, it is that rentals don’t have too much trade value around the league.
The first four will be free agents after the season, while Kimbrel has a club option for $16 million.
Hopefully the Cubs learned their lesson and prepare themselves for this hypothetical scenario should it present itself in the future.
They have to hang on to their stars while they are young, otherwise they risk losing them for an underwhelming return.