These three boys made it to the Major Leagues, and in doing so they become the youngest trio of teammates to ever do so. The Cubs selected Rizzo in the first round of the 2007 draft, Baez in the first round of the 2011 draft and Bryant in the first round of the 2013 draft. They all made some big contributions this season with the Cubs, and set MLB records for most home runs by a rookie, rookie teammates, and rookie teammates in the same season.
The Cubs are now the first team in history to have three rookies make an All-Star team in the same season. Javier Baez is an All-Star for the first time, while Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are most eligible players to make the team.
There is a reason that the Chicago Cubs have a long history of success. They have the most loyal fans in all of baseball! The fans in Chicago have seen many a great Cubs team, but in 2016, they have witnessed something different. This year, the team is on the cusp of a historic season, and it is all because of the three young Cubs players.
Fans of the Chicago Cubs had a rough week late last week. Fans of the North Siders watched in amazement as three of the team’s most important players — Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant — were sent out of town only five years after their beloved Cubbies won the World Series for the first time in 108 years.
Now that all three will be free agents at the conclusion of the season, there’s a good possibility that at least one of them will return to the blue pinstripes. However, the odds of all three returning are about as good as the Cubs reaching the playoffs this season. It was really the end of an era in Wrigleyville, and the fact that Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant created MLB history with their new clubs over the weekend did little to ease the pain.
The Chicago Cubs dealt Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant before the MLB trade deadline.
Some speculated heading into the 2021 MLB season that at least one of the three of Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant would depart before the season’s conclusion. Because they’re all free agents at the end of the season and have all been given extensions but turned them down, it’s only natural that the Cubs would want something in exchange for at least one of them, particularly after the team’s poor start.
Winning, on the other hand, has a way of altering things, and that’s precisely what the Cubs have done. Chicago won 14 of 17 games in a row from mid-May to early-June. Even as recently as June 24, the Cubs were tied for first position in the NL Central. The next day, they lost the first of 11 consecutive games and were eliminated from the postseason chase, essentially sealing the fates of Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, and many other players dealt late last week.
Rizzo was dealt to the New York Yankees on Thursday in exchange for right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino and outfielder Kevin Alcantara, two of the Yankees’ top 12 minor-league prospects. Baez and pitcher Trevor Williams were dealt to the New York Mets on Friday in exchange for the Mets’ first-round draft selection in 2020, outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Bryant was traded to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for two minor leaguers, pitcher Caleb Kilian and outfielder Alexander Canario, a short time after.
In the hours after each transaction, Cubs fans flocked to social media to express their collective sorrow, yet things managed to become even worse.
Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant all hit home runs in their first game with their new clubs, making MLB history.
Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez, all former Cubs, all hit home runs in their first games with their new clubs.
They are the first trio in the modern era to homer in their first game with a new club after previously playing on the same squad.
August 1, 2021 — Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS)
Rizzo was the first of the three to be dealt, so he was the first to suit up for his new club, and he joined the Yankees in Miami for the opening of a three-game series with the Marlins on Friday. And he got off to a fast start, going 2-for-3 with a walk in his first four at-bats, including a game-winning home drive in the sixth inning. He went deep again on Saturday night for good measure, becoming just the sixth player in Yankees history to smash a home run in both of his first two games with the club.
Baez made his debut with the Mets on Saturday as well. He finished 1-for-4 against the Cincinnati Reds in his new home, but that one hit was a monster home run of his own, a drive that obviously enthralled the Citi Field crowd.
On Sunday, it was Bryant’s time to wear his new uniform as the Giants finished a three-game series against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. And then, in his second at-bat, the 2016 NL MVP blasted a low rocket into the left-field bleachers, making MLB history.
Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant are currently the only three players in the modern era to smash home runs in their first game for a new club after previously playing for the same team.
All three players may return to the Cubs in 2022, but it does not seem probable.
(From left to right) Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant | Eric Espada/Getty Images, Jim McIsaac/Getty Images, and Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
As painful as it was for Cubs fans to see Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant go, each of their decisions made sense. As previously stated, all three players will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2021 season. With no real chance of making the playoffs and no assurance that any of the three would be re-signed, Chicago clearly opted to acquire some good prospects over nothing. While it’s unlikely that all three will return, it’s possible that one will.
Rizzo, the oldest of the three at 31 years old (he’ll be 32 on August 8), would seem to be the most cost-effective choice. He’s still capable of producing at a high level, and his experienced leadership will be crucial once the Cubs’ young prospects make it to the big leagues.
Baez has made no secret of his desire to play with Francisco Lindor, and now that he has received his wish, he might opt to sign with the Mets on a long-term deal, provided New York is willing to pay him despite his inconsistency at the bat. If the Mets pass, the Cubs may attempt to re-enter the game and get him. But that’s presuming they don’t consider other alternatives at shortstop.
Bryant seems to be the least likely of the three to return to the Cubs, owing in part to his status as a client of Scott Boras, who enjoys inflating the price of his clients. He’ll want the highest money of the three, and if Chicago is really in rebuilding mode, they won’t be able to provide Bryant with what Boras would demand.
For the time being, Cubs fans will have to wait and watch these three players compete in the playoffs while reverting to the term they thought they were done with…maybe next year.
Baseball Reference provided the statistics.
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