Third baseman Kris Bryant pointed out Saturday that the Cubs could keep their entire All-Star core together beyond arbitration years “if they want to.”
“There’s certainly money out there. It’s a very profitable game,” he said.
Then the reality check walked into the clubhouse Sunday morn-ing in the form of shortstop Javy Baez, the All-Star the Cubs have worked the hardest this winter to extend. Baez is a power-hitting, glam-fielding reminder of how the business side of baseball is played in the age of luxury taxes and Mookie Betts salary dumps. In the Cubs’ case, he’s also a reminder that an elite-revenue team with a TV network launching this week is essentially making a choice between keeping a 2016 MVP in Bryant or a 2018 MVP runner-up in Baez. (That’s assuming the Cubs can get either one to agree to an extension.)
Bryant has been floated in trade talks all winter. Baez and his agent have been engaged with the team all winter in extension talks he says have “been up and down.”