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June 7 update: Former Cubs Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber

Once again, it’s time to peek in at some old Cubs favorites.

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

One of these guys plays for a really good team and the others... don’t.

Javier Báez

Javy currently has the fourth-lowest OPS (.540) of any qualified hitter in the major leagues. He’s on pace to hit nine home runs and draw 18 walks.

Yikes. How did this happen?

Báez had a thumb injury that caused him to miss nine games, and he was doing all right before that, but that can’t be all of it. Since the last update here he’s 5-for-30 with eight strikeouts. The Tigers, who some (including me) had thought might be a sneaky contending team this year, are 21-33 and 10 games out of first place. Could Javy be slumping because he’s playing for a team out of contention in front of small and indifferent crowds (the Tigers rank 22nd in attendance with an average crowd of 17,706)?

Whatever is causing Javy’s poor year, this is a stunning fall for a guy who was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and finished second in MVP voting in ‘18.

He did hit this RBI double Sunday against the Yankees [VIDEO].

It was the first run the Tigers had scored since last Thursday. They lost anyway, 5-4.

Kris Bryant

Still on the injured list with back trouble, KB has played in just 17 games this year and hit no home runs.

This Denver Post article called him a “ghost”:

The Rockies gave Bryant, a ghost with a creaky back haunting the team’s recent freefall in the standings, a $182 million contract out of a sense of guilt for chasing away Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. That’s poor judgment. But giving [Ian] Desmond $70 million and a first baseman’s mitt to learn a new position prior to the 2017 season? That was absolutely bonkers. Is the deal for Bryant worse? Get back to me in two years.

Pretty harsh, but not unfair. There doesn’t appear to be any timetable for Bryant’s return and the back issues seem to be chronic for him. It would not surprise me if, as a result, he was forced to retire before the end of the contract.

Anthony Rizzo

As we all know, Rizzo is a notorious streak hitter. Here’s how he did the first two months:

April: .273/.391/.675 (21 games), nine home runs
May: .167/.268/.313 (27 games), two home runs

MVP candidate in April, DFA candidate in May. He’s started June well, though, and Sunday he pulled off a key play in the Yankees’ win [VIDEO].

The stolen base was his fourth of the year, and he eventually scored the tying run in that inning in a game the Yankees won 5-4 in 10 innings.

We’ll see Rizzo this weekend when the Cubs visit Yankee Stadium, his first appearance against the Cubs since last year’s trade.

Kyle Schwarber

Since the last update here, Kyle’s manager Joe Girardi was fired and then his team went on a four-game winning streak, including a sweep of the Angels.

In the nine games he’s played since we last looked, Kyle has hit a Schwarberesque .212/.381/.606 (7-for-33). Of those seven hits, one was a double and four were home runs. He also walked nine times.

One of Schwarber’s home runs keyed the first win of that four-game streak, a two-run shot that gave them the lead against the Giants [VIDEO].

Takeaways

These four players, as of this morning, have combined for 1.4 bWAR this season. That’s exactly equal to what Nico Hoerner has produced for the 2022 Cubs (and Hoerner has missed 13 games due to injury). While we all love Báez, Bryant, Rizzo and Schwarber for the 2016 World Series, it was clearly time to move on, and we just witnessed the first MLB return for the deals where they were shipped off: Caleb Kilian, who started Saturday against the Cardinals and who looks like a keeper.

The only mistake made here was the Cubs not signing Schwarber before 2021. They wound up paying Joc Pederson almost as much as Schwarber likely would have received in arbitration, and didn’t get much value back for Pederson. Schwarber likely would have brought more back in trade.