CHICAGO — Theo Epstein said the day was coming, and as of July 30, 2021, it’s here.
Kris Bryant and Javier Baez have officially been traded to National League contenders, putting the franchise on the path to a rebuild. Baez is heading out to New York to play with the Mets, along with starting pitcher Trevor Williams, and Kris Bryant is heading out west to play with the first-place San Francisco Giants.
The day of reckoning, the changing of the guard, however you’d like to phrase it, is here. The final chapter in the greatest era of Chicago Cubs history is over. All three cornerstone pieces, along with future Hall of Fame closer Craig Kimbrel have new homes.
Cubs receive OF Alexander Canario (No. 9 SF prospect per @MLBPipeline) and RHP Caleb Killian (No. 30) from the Giants for Kris Bryant, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 30, 2021
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 30, 2021
Cubs Returns For Cornerstone Players
Pete Crow Armstrong was a first-round pick two years ago and was the fifth-ranked prospect in the Mets’ system.
Frankly, the return for Kris Bryant is incredibly underwhelming. The top position player available most certainly could have brought home a much bigger prize.
Here is the live reaction from Bryant himself:
— Kevin Wells 🎙 (@Wells15Kevin) July 30, 2021
What’s Next For The Cubs Franchise?
So, where do the Cubs go from here? The team is unrecognizable and the wind is blowing as hard towards home plate as it can, and today there is a low, depressed feeling on the streets surrounding Wrigley Field.
Tomorrow, there will be a new core of Nick Madrigal, Nico Hoerner, and potentially Willson Contreras. Will that be all? No, certainly not. Free agency and an aggressive Jed Hoyer will make sure the franchise contends sooner rather than later.
While Anthony Rizzo, Bryant, and Baez are all on expiring contracts and have the opportunity to resign next season, the next 60 or so games of the 2021 season are going to be very hard to watch. Not to mention the odds of getting one or two of them back are slim to none.
The Cubs Have To Draft Better. Period.
It’s okay to feel sad about losing players that meant so much to our lives. But it’s not okay to feel as though this is a normal part of baseball in a top-three market.
The Cubs are in this position because of poor drafting that was ongoing for nearly a decade. Ian Happ has not panned out, Albert Almora Jr. was terrible, Eloy Jimenez was traded, the list goes on and on.
Teams that win in Major League Baseball draft and develop starting pitching. The Cubs have spent way too much on pitching over the last five years, and that is coming back to haunt them now.
As fans, we waited and waited for the Marquee Sports Network to launch because we were promised it would increase our payroll. Now, we’re stuck waiting for next year and using a slogan campaigned before Theo Epstein’s arrival:
There is always next year, Cubs fans.