The fire sale has officially begun in Chicago.
A day after trading first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees, the Cubs spent Friday shipping the rest of their stars out of town.
The infield will look different in Chicago, as the Cubs traded third baseman Kris Byrant to the Giants, while sending shortstop Javier Baez and pitcher Trevor Williams to the Mets. Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel will stay in Chicago, but he'll be playing for the White Sox instead.
The first-place San Francisco Giants made a big splash just before the trade deadline, getting Bryant from the Chicago Cubs for two minor leaguers.
Chicago received right-hander Caleb Kilian and outfielder Alexander Canario.
The 29-year-old Bryant, who can become a free agent after this season, was one of the top position players available on the market as the disappointing Cubs sold off several stars. He is batting .267 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs.
The versatile Bryant, a four-time All-Star, was the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year and 2016 NL MVP, when he helped the Cubs win the World Series to end a 108-year championship drought.
The surprising Giants began the day with a three-game lead in the NL West over their biggest rivals, the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
The New York Mets, meanwhile, the pair of Cubs for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, as they attempt to maintain their lead in the NL East.
Báez, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove winner, gives the NL East leaders an immediate fill-in for injured buddy Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Lindor is sidelined with a strained oblique and isn't expected back until at least mid-to-late August.
Báez, who can become a free agent after the season, is batting .248 with 22 home runs and 65 RBIs. He has a .775 OPS and 13 stolen bases in 16 tries, but also leads the National League with 131 strikeouts. He has made 18 errors in 88 games.
When Lindor returns, Báez could move to second base or third. Williams also is a significant part of the deal for the Mets, who were eager to reinforce a thin starting rotation depleted by injuries. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) this season, his first with the Cubs after spending his first five years in Pittsburgh. The 29-year-old Williams is eligible for arbitration after this season and can become a free agent following the 2022 season.
The Mets also received cash as part of the deal.New York began the day with a 3 1/2-game lead in the NL East over Philadelphia, and third-place Atlanta was four back. Both those teams also made moves before Friday's trade deadline in an effort to upgrade and chase down the Mets.
The 19-year-old Armstrong, a first-round draft pick out of high school last year, is sidelined with a shoulder injury. He is considered an elite defender in center field.
The Chicago White Sox rounded out the day of trading with the Cubs by acquiring Kimbrel, a move that should give the AL Central leaders a fearsome bullpen for their playoff push.
The White Sox already had one of baseball's best closers in All-Star Liam Hendriks. Now the South Siders add Kimbrel, who has a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 25 opportunities for the Cubs this season and leads NL relievers in strikeout rate and opponents' batting average. Kimbrel ranks ninth in history with 371 saves in his 12 years in the majors.
The White Sox paid quite a price to get him: They sent second baseman Nick Madrigal, a budding star who is out for the season with a torn right hamstring, to the Cubs along with right-handed reliever Codi Heuer.
"We viewed Craig as the premier relief pitcher available at this trade deadline, and so we knew the cost would be steep in terms of parting with young talent," White sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. "But we recognize the special opportunity that currently exists and our team, our clubhouse and our fans deserve to know we will do everything we can to reach the postseason and win meaningful games in October."
The White Sox entered Friday with an eight-game lead over division rival Cleveland. The Cubs are fourth in the NL Central and entering a rebuild.
Madrigal, 24, and Heuer, 25, are both second-year players. Madrigal, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, batted .305 with a .354 on-base percentage in 54 games this season. Heuer is 4-1 with a 5.12 ERA in 40 appearances in 2021.
The White Sox had already addressed the loss of Madrigal by acquiring slugging second baseman Cesar Hernandez from the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
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