Though this isn’t going to be the final time we are saying goodbye to Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javy Báez, we now have to take our first step in that course. Right here’s mine.
Given the Cubs’ place within the NL Central, the parallel expiration of a number of contracts, the staleness of an offense tormented by too lots of the similar bananas, and a few basic fatigue with the general product since 2017, the Chicago Cubs turned sellers on the 2021 MLB Commerce Deadline. All instructed, they traded 9 gamers, together with a starter, three relievers, and 5 place gamers. Two of these place gamers, Joc Pederson and Jake Marisnick, have been short-term Cubs items whose departure hardly registered a blip on the emotional radar. The opposite three, nonetheless … Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez, Kris Bryant … these three meant one thing to the town.
Like I discussed above, I can’t promise to say every little thing I wish to say about these three gamers right here right this moment, however I wish to get the ball rolling and being the method of closure. And the Cubs supplied the right alternative by delivering three completely unbelievable farewell movies that I feel you need to see. I’ll present just a little context earlier than every, however I’m going to let the movies do a lot of the work right here.
Anthony Rizzo performed his first sport with the Chicago Cubs on June 26, 2012 and his final sport on July 28, 2021. That’s 9 years, 1 month, and a couple of days in Cubbie blue. He was the primary new Cub, the sign that the tide was turning because the rebuild acquired underway. And on Thursday, he was traded to the New York Yankees, the place he’s already hit his first house run.
It’s tough to completely categorical what Anthony Rizzo meant to this workforce and metropolis, and my household, specifically. I do know this isn’t a common expertise, however as a full-blooded Italian myself (grandparents from the previous nation and every little thing), Rizzo’s embrace of his Italian tradition meant quite a bit to us. All my nieces and nephews have a replica of his e-book, “Anthony Rizzo is an effective Italian Boy” and my grandma used to inform me to inform him to “eat one thing,” as a result of he was trying too skinny recently (I don’t really KNOW Anthony Rizzo, and I additionally don’t suppose he was too skinny … ).
Throughout his time with the Cubs, Anthony Rizzo hit 242 house runs, drove in 784 RBI, and slashed .272/.372/.489 (132 wRC+), which is 32% higher than the typical participant. He additionally had a couple of scoreless reduction appearances alongside the best way. Anthony Rizzo was a 3x All-Star, a 4x Gold Glover, a Silver Slugger, and a World Sequence Champion. And resulting from his charitable efforts (each in cash and his personal time), he turned one of many youngest Roberto Clemente Award winners ever.
I by no means thought he was going to depart the Cubs. Ever.
To @ARizzo44, the guts and soul of the best Cubs workforce of all time.
For all you’ve finished on the sector and for all you do off it.
Thanks. #TeamRizzo pic.twitter.com/1OQPagPHSo
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 30, 2021
Kris Bryant was drafted by the Chicago Cubs with the second total choose within the 2013 MLB Draft and was virtually instantly on a rocket ship to stardom. He was simply one of the best prospect the Cubs had possibly ever had (at the very least, on reflection, that’s definitely true), and he delivered in a short time. After only one full skilled season as a minor leaguer (… and two additional weeks in Iowa for “improvement”), Bryant was known as as much as the Chicago Cubs on April seventeenth, 2021.
He performed his final sport in a Cubs uniform on July 28, 2021 for a complete of 6 years, 3 months, and 11 days in a Cubs uniform.
Throughout his debut season in Chicago, Bryant did NOT disappoint, slashing .275/.369/.488 (136 wRC+) en path to NL Rookie of the Yr honors, and the Cubs’ first NLCS look since 2003.
That is going to sound foolish, however I feel it’s true: Except for the World Sequence title, itself, in 2016, the 2015 season was really probably the most enjoyable stretch of this complete run. The Cubs surprisingly received 97 video games on their strategy to the postseason as a Wild Card, the place they instantly tackled the Pirates *after which* the Cardinals to get to the NLCS. And though this workforce had some veterans to assist navigate these waters, it was principally an unproven, inexperienced group of youngsters taking part in on the largest stage of their lives. Kris Bryant was one of the best amongst them.
For as a lot because the accidents derailed a part of this time in Chicago, Bryant was one of many single most gifted gamers to ever put on this jersey. He finishes his profession with 31.1 WAR (twenty first in Cubs historical past, proper behind Rizzo), however NOBODY forward of him on the checklist performed in fewer video games. He was a real MVP and we have been fortunate to have him.
With out Kris Bryant, none of this occurs.
Kris Bryant finishes his Cubs profession slashing .279/.378/.508 (136 wRC+) with 160 HRs … and as a 4x All-Star, the 2015 NL Rookie of the Yr, the 2016 NL MVP, and a World Sequence champion.
From Rookie of the Yr to MVP and World Sequence Champion.
We’ve watched you develop into among the best ballplayers and human beings to put on a Cubs uniform.
Wishing all one of the best to you and your loved ones, @KrisBryant_23. pic.twitter.com/L5jBm5SAR9
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 30, 2021
Anthony Rizzo would possibly’ve meant probably the most, Kris Bryant might have been one of the best, however the Cubs have by no means EVER had a participant like Javy Báez. The truth is, the league infrequently noticed anybody like him. Báez singlehandedly made tagging a measurable ability, he perfected the magical slide, he was actually fueled by large moments like no participant I’ve ever seen earlier than, and he performed with the form of ardour and noise Cubs gamers earlier than him not often, if ever, revealed.
However I’m getting forward of myself.
The Cubs chosen Javy Báez with the ninth total choose within the 2011 draft, which was really the final pre-Theo Epstein draft (thanks, Jim Hendry!). As a youthful participant, he had an extended, extra conventional journey via the minor leagues, lastly arriving after Rizzo, however earlier than Bryant, on August fifth, 2014. He performed his remaining sport with the Cubs on July 29, 2021 for a complete of 6 years, 11 months, and 24 days in Cubs gear.
I actually don’t know if I can describe what it’s like to look at Javy Báez play baseball, and I feel most Cubs followers can relate to that. Followers of different groups who don’t/didn’t watch him carefully simply couldn’t absolutely grasp the extent of his means to influence a sport, even when he was placing out with regularity or irritating us with over-aggressiveness. Báez is a one-of-a-kind participant. A profitable participant. A uncommon man who makes me wish to throw away the superior analytics and scream JUST WATCH HIM PLAY AND YOU’LL UNDERSTAND.
Javy Báez finishes his Cubs profession slashing .262/.303/.474 (102 wRC+) with 140 HRs. He was a 2x All Star, an MVP runner-up, a co-NLCS MVP, a Gold Glover, a Silver Slugger, the 2018 NL RBI chief, and, in fact, a World Sequence champion.
You electrified Wrigley Area like no different and your legacy right here will final without end.
Thanks, @javy23baez. pic.twitter.com/qzdT7aM0S5
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 30, 2021
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javy Báez are free brokers on the finish of the season. Subsequently, it’s at the very least attainable that one may discover their method again to the North Aspect of Chicago earlier than too lengthy.
(Picture by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Pictures)