That move, along with a handful of others, have left the team decimated on the field.
After helping the San Francisco Giants to a standout year and playoff appearance, Bryant has moved on.
In a shocking move on Wednesday, he inked a seven-year, $182 million contract with the Colorado Rockies to become the franchise’s new cornerstone.
🎉Kris Bryant is now a member of the Colorado Rockies.🎉 pic.twitter.com/go8pGXB8PR
— DNVR Rockies (@DNVR_Rockies) March 16, 2022
While there has been a lot of questions and criticisms surrounding the signing for the Rockies, it highlights the Cubs’ error in shipping him off.
Now, with the face of their franchise gone, the Cubs are left deep in a rebuilding phase.
Bryant Could’ve Led Cubs Rebuild
Yes, the issue of the Cubs’ payroll was mounting for years.
They had an abundance of young talent before and after their World Series victory in 2016.
As such, they carried on as long as possible with the roster until it was the last minute.
Finally, the team also traded Bryant for a relatively lackluster return considering All-Star’s value.
Fri: Anthony Rizzo HR in NYY debut
Sat: Javy Baez HR in NYM debut
Sun: Kris Bryant HR in SF debut
They're the first trio of former teammates in the Modern Era to start the season on the same team, and then homer in their respective debuts with a new team later that season. pic.twitter.com/YEUQddWgmR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 2, 2021
However, with the number of players that the Cubs traded before, they could have afforded to hang onto one of these names.
The most obvious was Bryant.
He appeared to have interest in staying with the team, though there are conflicting reports between him and the franchise over why earlier extension talks fell through.
By hanging onto Bryant, the Cubs would have proven that they weren’t simply tearing down and starting from scratch, but rather retooling.
The center of this would revolve around Bryant as he could provide an All-Star presence in the lineup and mentor younger players coming in.
Kris Bryant walks it off with a 3-run homer!
He now 3 career walk-off hits; all are home runs 🔥
— ESPN (@espn) May 8, 2019
Now, they are left with one of the worst rosters in the league on paper.
Cubs Missed Chance To Build This Winter
Imagine this: the Cubs still have Bryant and make a push for another big name free agent this winter.
Perhaps this could have culminated to a superstar like Carlos Correa manning shortstop at Wrigley in 2022.
The Cubs would have enough payroll to afford such a move, even with giving Bryant an extension.
This would give the franchise one of the best third base/shortstop pairings in the league, and could be the centerpiece to a rapid turnaround for the team.
However, their trade of Bryant especially took much of this off the table.
It created a situation in Chicago that isn’t appealing to free agents, leaving them with a skeleton of a lineup that they’ve had in the past.
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) March 17, 2022
This just continues to prove that the Cubs were willing to spend but hurt themselves by selling off too much of their talent last season.
In just one move, the Cubs ruined their chances of quickly bouncing back and becoming a playoff caliber team again.
Trading Bryant will continue to haunt the organization in the coming years.