(670 The Score) Reading the tea leaves, it seems unlikely at this time the Cubs will re-sign any of a trio of recently traded stars in first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Javier Baez or infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant, who are all set to be free agents after the end of this season.
During an interview with ESPN on Tuesday, Rizzo expressed disappointment in what he viewed as the Cubs failing to make fair market offers to the three stars in previous contract extension negotiations. Baez had long been open about his desire to play with Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor and was happy to get that chance when Chicago traded him to New York. On the same day he debuted for San Francisco, Bryant called it “enticing” to think about joining the Giants on a long-term deal. Meanwhile, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has admitted to frustration and confusion regarding extension talks that went nowhere, a sign of how far apart the sides were.
Nonetheless, Cubs manager David Ross holds out at least a glimmer of hope that the organization could re-sign one of those three icons when they’re set to hit free agency this offseason.
“Does it feel like the right time probably for each guy (to exit)?” Ross said on the Laurence Holmes Show on Tuesday. “I would say in some ways, yeah. It’s just, whatever we were back in the standings, I don’t want to see that caliber of a player sit around the last two months and have to go through what potentially is not going to be the greatest baseball. We want those guys to be able to move forward and be able to play for championships with the understanding that they can be back, right? I think some of that is it’s not goodbye forever, right? I mean no matter what, with me, I’m connected with those guys for the rest of my life. It’s not permanent for me, and I don’t know that anybody feels like there’s a finality to that. And we know that it is a business, and it’s a crazy world. But there’s definitely opportunity to get some of those guys back.”
Ross called it logical for the Cubs to deal Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and others for prospects at the trade deadline.
“If I’m running business and I’ve got a chance to gain some return on an asset or be able to regain that asset two months later, why would I not do that?” Ross said. “If I have nothing else to gain from that asset for the next two months, let’s see if you can make something of the reputations and the caliber of players that you have. And the opportunity to sign them back is real in two months. I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t do that.”