Report: Giants deal for Cubs' Kris Bryant, jump into trade deadline fray

The San Francisco Giants, unlikely NL West leaders, are trading for Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.

The move represents a counterpunch from the surprising Giants. In a brutal division that was thought to be a high-flying race between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, the Giants have so far led the way. On Thursday night, the Dodgers struck a blockbuster deal to add Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the rebuilding Nationals. Now, the Giants have tapped into the Cubs' fire sale to add a versatile, star-level bat who can play third base and all the outfield spots.

In return, the Cubs will reportedly get outfield prospect Alexander Canario and right-handed pitcher Caleb Kilian.

Bryant’s career started about as well as humanly possible. Arriving in early 2015 as the game’s top prospect, he immediately won NL Rookie of the Year and led the Cubs out of a rebuild and to the postseason. In 2016, he won NL MVP and fielded the final out as the Cubs ended their infamous World Series drought.

He's the last major piece out the door in a dramatic teardown signaling that the era of the Theo Epstein-built, World Series-winning Cubs core is over at Wrigley Field. Chicago has now sent Bryant and longtime teammates Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez packing within 24 hours of each other.

Based on the narrative around him and the Cubs, you’d think Bryant had swooned for years after that, but really, Bryant has been an excellent hitter aside from an injury-riddled 2020 — at least 20 percent better than league average by OPS+ in every other season. He has rebounded with an excellent start in 2021 as he barrels toward free agency.

Bryant joins the Giants as they take up the task of holding off a veritable All-Star team known as the Dodgers. But so far, so good. The Giants have played Los Angeles seven times since July 19, and gone 5-2. They are awaiting the return of Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria — two veterans who were having strong seasons before hitting the IL — but Bryant is insurance on both.

A team defined by depth gets a perfect, multi-purpose bat in Bryant. As he approaches free agency, the question of whether he fits in the core of a transitioning Giants team will no doubt come up. Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor are among a handful of stars who have recently signed extensions with new teams after being traded in their final year of team control.

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