Beloved Bryant dealt to Giants for prospects

July 31st, 2021

CHICAGO -- stood on the top step of the Cubs' dugout on Thursday afternoon, holding a bat and waiting for one final plate appearance in front of the fans at Wrigley Field. The game ended with the star in the hole and, following a moment seated back on the bench to look out at the field, Bryant collected his gear and exited with his future up in the air.

On Friday, Bryant's time with the Cubs came to a close, with Chicago finalizing a trade that sent the superstar to the Giants shortly before the 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. Outfielder Alexander Canario (ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Giants' No. 9 prospect) and right-hander Caleb Kilian (No. 30) head to the Cubs in exchange for Bryant.

The Bryant trade came after the Cubs also reached a deal to send star shortstop Javier Báez to the Mets and closer Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox. Those moves came one day after Chicago's dismantling of its long-time core began with the North Siders trading first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees.

"Those players, those are superstar players. These are winners," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. "They should be playing on TV in October. And all those guys will be playing on TV in October. And that's the way it should be.

"Javy Báez should be playing in October on the big stage, and so should Kris Bryant and so should Rizz. And in five of the last six years, they've done that with the Cubs. This year, they're going to do that with other teams. That was the decision we made.

"Was it emotionally difficult? Yes. Do I think it was absolutely the right thing for the organization? I do."

This season, the 29-year-old Bryant has hit .267/.358/.503 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs through 93 games, and he has been on a hot streak in July (.922 OPS in 20 games). Over seven seasons with the Cubs, the former first-round pick (2013), Rookie of the Year ('15) and MVP ('16) hit .279 with 160 home runs, 191 doubles and 465 RBIs, making four All-Star Games along the way and helping Chicago end its 108-year World Series title drought in 2016.

Hoyer said the Cubs had extension talks with each of the team's upcoming free agents -- Bryant included -- but were too far apart in negotiations.

"These are guys we have grown to really care for and their families, so that part is really difficult," Hoyer said. "But I have to say, we made offers to everyone that I believe will stand up exceptionally well. We weren't able to reach deals. Does that frustrate me? It does. But I have to be honest, I know we put our best foot forward. I'm proud of the offers we made."

Kilian, 24, was enjoying a strong season in the Giants' system, posting a 2.13 ERA with 96 strikeouts against nine walks in 84 2/3 innings between High-A and Double-A. The 21-year-old Canario was hitting .235/.325/.433 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 65 games for Low-A San Jose, while moving between all three outfield positions.

"With each trade, we targeted players we really liked and we wouldn't really move from that position," Hoyer said. "To a person, we really liked the players we got."