Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has been the subject of trade speculation for the past few years now. But he had to double-check he was not traded to the New York Mets earlier this winter.

The 2016 National League MVP said Thursday he got a text from an unknown Connecticut number saying “Welcome to the Mets” shortly after seeing his name linked to the New York club. Bryant said he had to call his agent and Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer to make sure he was not actually headed to the Big Apple.

Reports first surfaced in January suggesting the Mets and Cubs had discussed Bryant in trade talks. Those initial talks seemed to wilt, but Andy Martino of SNY reported earlier this month the teams had restarted discussions.

However, Hoyer later stated reports the Mets and Cubs were talking were false.

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Bryant will be a free agent at the end of the 2021 season. All indications are he will at least start the season with the Cubs.

The 29-year-old ranked third only to Mike Trout and Mookie Betts in fWAR between 2015 and 2019. But Bryant posted a career-worst .644 OPS in 2020 and has dealt with injuries in recent years. Given he will make $19.5 million in his final year of arbitration, there was a feeling the Cubs might look to move him to slash payroll.

Instead, a bounce-back from Bryant figures to be pivotal in Chicago’s chances of making the playoffs, even in a depleted NL Central. He also did not rule out the possibility of signing an extension with the Cubs.