The MLB trade deadline is rapidly approaching. At this point last season, Cubs fans knew they were watching the final month of players’ careers as a Cub. Let’s look back at that season, how those players did, and where they are now.
Anthony Rizzo entered his 10th season as a Cub in 2021, and many fans hoped he would remain on the northside. Throughout the season, the belief was that Bryant and Baez remained the main pieces that would ultimately be traded. However, he was the first Cub to go. Rizzo was sent to the Yankees for two minor league players and cash.
When Rizzo was traded, it ended one of the most prolific eras in Cubs’ history.
This season, Rizzo is playing well, and so are the Yankees. The Yankees have the best record in baseball and are poised to make a deep run in the postseason.
Rizzo reflects on his time with the Cubs:
“I think I’ll forever be connected to Chicago. Wrigley’s a special place, and it will always be a special place.”
Kris Bryant emerged as a star as a rookie back in 2015. Bryant won rookie of the year, NL MVP the next season, and was a crucial contributor in the 2016 season.
Due to Bryant’s incredible abilities, he sought a contract extension multiple times, including fighting a grievance case against the team that drafted him. Bryant lost his case in 2020, putting his name in trade talks in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
In 2021, Kris Bryant played at an all-star level for the 4th time in his career. The Cubs remained in contention until a double-digit losing streak halted the season. After the streak, Bryant was poised to get shipped to a winning team. He was ultimately sent to the San Francisco Giants, who had the best record in the league.
Bryant played 51 games for the Giants in 2021. His play dipped, but he still performed at an above-average level.
During the offseason, Bryant signed a seven-year, $182 million contract with the Colorado Rockies.
Bryant has grossly underperformed in Colorado. He has only played in 21 games, has hit zero home runs, and only totaled five RBIs this season.
Javier Baez was the final core piece that the Cubs traded during the unfortunate 2021 season.
Baez made his debut in 2014 but ultimately made his first impact during the 2016 season. The young shortstop emerged with a powerful bat, but he made most of his magic with his glove, tagging runners out quickly in crucial moments. Baez quickly became a fan favorite, earning the nickname “El Mago.” Javier Baez became a top shortstop, earning two all-star nods.
During the unfortunate losing streak in 2021, Baez’s name was in trade talks with many teams. The Cubs ultimately sent him to the New York Mets, where he competed in 47 games, playing exceptionally well. Despite Baez’s play, the Mets tumbled and missed the playoffs.
Briefly looking back at their careers, all three of these players starred in Chicago, helping end the longest championship drought in the history of American sports. They are all legends in the eyes of Cubs fans and the city of Chicago.
However, all good things must come to an end.
The future is bright in Chicago. Many trades brought players to bolster the young and talented minor league system. Seiya Suzuki, Christopher Morel, Brennen Davis, and Pete Crow-Armstrong are just some players who will contribute to the next great Cubs team.
I’m super excited for the future of baseball on the north side.