When the Chicago Cubs drafted Kris Bryant with the No. 2 pick in 2013, the organization envisioned the third baseman becoming a cornerstone of a franchise enduring a tough rebuild.
Eight years later, with a National League Rookie of the Year and MVP awards, four All-Star honors and a World Series title to his name, Bryant lived up to expectations as he helped usher in one of the winningest eras of Cubs baseball. After trading Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees on Thursday and Javier Báez to the Mets on Friday, the Cubs traded Bryant to the San Francisco Giants minutes before Friday’s trade deadline to officially close that chapter.
In return, the Cubs received prospects right-hander Caleb Kilian and outfielder Alexander Canario.
When asked trade rumors this week, Bryant sounded ready for the speculation to be over.
“Some of this stuff is just exhausting. It really is,” he said after Tuesday’s loss. “And I’m just trying to do my best to keep my focus where it needs to be and help whoever I can along the way here and just take everything in stride. And whatever happens, it’s out of my control.”
Bryant didn’t rule out a return to the Cubs if the organization wants to bring him back.
“I feel like I’ve always been really consistent in that,” Bryant said. “Sometimes the narrative out there has never been right, and it’s been frustrating for me to see some of that. But deep down in my heart, I know I’ve had some of the best memories here and the best times in my life. It’d be really stupid of me not to say hey, if they wanted me here, of course I’m always going to listen because Chicago is a special place to me.”
The 29-year-old Bryant showed off his defensive versatility this year while being the Cubs’ best all-around hitter. He started at least 10 games at five different positions — third base, all three outfield spots and first base — and his comfort playing all over the diamond provided manager David Ross flexibility to optimize his lineup daily.
Bryant departs the Cubs with 160 career home runs, 465 RBIs, a .279/.378/.508 slash line and 134 OPS+ in 833 games.