Cubs' Bryant wants to stay with Rizzo: 'Maybe we're a package deal'
The surprisingly competitive Chicago Cubs still might be hurtling toward a rebuild, and two of the most marketable stars in the majors are considering what it would be like to play against each other for the first time in their careers.
"Maybe that's why we are having more fun, because it might be the end," star Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant told Patrick Mooney of The Athletic. "It might be the last time I play with Anthony Rizzo. Who knows? Maybe we're a package deal.
"We've said it plenty of times to each other. I think that’s why a lot of guys are really embracing it and enjoying it, because it could be the last go-round. A lot of us certainly hope it’s not. That's the way the game goes sometimes. We're at different points in our careers. But there's something to be said about us just really enjoying it - and it being potentially our last year together."
Shortly after Bryant's highly anticipated promotion to the majors in 2015, he and Rizzo became co-stars of an ascendant club that went on to win the 2016 World Series, breaking Chicago's infamous championship drought. The shared spotlight and friendship would result in the formation of Bryzzo, a combination of the two last names and running gag that included the Bryzzo Souvenir Co. in 2017.
While Bryant, who's due to hit free agency along with Rizzo this winter, acknowledged the potential of playing elsewhere shortly, he also didn't dismiss staying with the Cubs.
"I don't know their financial situation," the 2016 NL MVP added. "But the Chicago Cubs are doing well. So theoretically, yes, you could sign whoever you want. It's just a matter of if they want to continue with us or if they want to go a different way. They got some money."
The 29-year-old three-time All-Star is in the midst of a resurgent 2021 campaign after a dismal pandemic-shortened season last year, hitting .308/.386/.582 with 13 homers and three steals.
Meanwhile, Rizzo is continuing to put up strong numbers as one of the league's most reliable first basemen. The three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is hitting .261/.355/.420 with five home runs and four stolen bases.
After trading away Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish and non-tendering Kyle Schwarber this past offseason, the Cubs are in a dogfight for first in the NL Central while currently sitting a half-game back of the Milwaukee Brewers. The team seems poised to continue reducing its payroll, with Javier Baez also preparing for the open market this winter.