Giants go big, acquire former MVP Kris Bryant in blockbuster trade with Cubs

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By , 670 The Score

(670 The Score) One of the greatest players in Cubs history is leaving the organization.

The Cubs have agreed to a deal to trade star infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Friday afternoon. The deal came just minutes before the 3 p.m. CT deadline.

Bryant’s exit came as the Cubs had a fire sale of the core members of their 2016 championship team in a 24-hour window. On Thursday, the Cubs traded longtime first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees. On Friday, they then dealt shortstop Javier Baez to the Mets. The Cubs also shipped star closer Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox on Friday.

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While the sell-off was expected for weeks, it nonetheless was jarring in that it represented the end of a golden era for the Cubs, who in Bryant’s seven-year tenure with the team won three NL Central crowns as well as the 2016 World Series and made the playoffs five times.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the Cubs received in return from the Giants.

Bryant is a four-time All-Star, including here in 2021, in which he’s hitting .267 with 18 homers, 51 RBIs and an .861 OPS in 93 games. He has also played six different positions this season – everywhere but pitcher, catcher and second base – showcasing the type of versatility and team-first attitude that made him appealing to nearly every contending team.

Bryant, 29, is set to be a free agent at season’s end, and the expectation that he’ll command more money than the Cubs are willing to spend had long made him a trade candidate as the end of his contract neared. Bryant and the Cubs never came close to a long-term extension through the years. He recently expressed an openness to returning to the Cubs in free agency even if he was traded, but most across MLB view that as more of a pipe dream than a realistic possibility.

The Cubs selected Bryant at No. 2 overall in the 2013 amateur draft, and he shined as soon as he arrived in the big leagues. Bryant won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2015, then followed it up by earning NL MVP honors in 2016 as his talents helped the Cubs break their 108-year championship drought. Bryant is one of 10 players in Cubs franchise history to win the MVP award.

For many fans, the indelible lasting image of Bryant will be of him smiling just before firing a throw to Rizzo to record the final out of the World Series.

Bryant’s time with the Cubs wasn’t without hard feelings from a business perspective. After the 2015 season, Bryant and his camp filed a grievance against the Cubs, claiming the team manipulated his service time to delay his free agency by a year. Bryant eventually lost the case in January 2020, but he always retained his love for the people in the organization and viewed it as an honor to play in front of the Wrigley Field faithful.

“I’ve had some of the best memories here and the best times of my life,” Bryant said earlier this week.

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