The Giants and the Cubs agreed to a three-player trade ahead of the deadline that will send third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant to San Francisco in exchange for outfielder Alexander Canario and right-handed pitcher Caleb Kilian.
Bryant gives the Giants an impact-caliber hitter with a good deal of defensive versatility in their quest to win the National League West. The Cubs, meanwhile, continue their rebuild by netting two more interesting prospects for a replenished farm system.
We here at CBS Sports are the judgmental kind, if little else. As such, you'll find our instant-reaction grades for both sides of this trade below. It should go without saying that this is more of an art than a science. First, let's reprint the terms of the deal:
Cubs trade: 3B/OF Kris Bryant
Giants trade: OF Alexander Canario, RHP Caleb Kilian
Now, onto the hot air and the gas baggery.
Giants grade: A+
This is a flawless trade for the Giants, so far we're concerned.
Bryant, an impending free agent, has rebounded from a rough 2020 to hit .267/.358/.503 (133 OPS+) with 18 home runs and four steals (on six tries). He's done that while seeing action at six different positions, including at third base and in center field. Add in how he seemingly carries himself as a face of the franchise should, and he would've been a heck of an addition regardless of the cost or the fit. But gosh folks, how about that cost and how about the fit?
The Giants were able to land Bryant without dealing from the top of their system, the way the Dodgers did to acquire Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, or even the way the Mets did to assure they'd land Javier Báez. They also didn't have to send over a package of players, the way the Yankees did to obtain the services of Joey Gallo from the Rangers. Even now, it feels like the Giants should be announcing the identity of another prospect who is heading to Chicago.
As for the fit, Bryan's protean nature made him a compelling target for any contender, but he seems especially well-suited for these Giants. For now, Bryant might serve as the most-days third baseman until Evan Longoria returns from the injured list (thereby providing a defensive upgrade at the hot corner over Wilmer Flores). After that, Giants skipper Gabe Kapler can ping-pong him around the diamond based on which bit players make for the best match-ups. Some nights, that might mean starting him at third, or out in center, then sliding him to another position later in the game to make way for a pinch-hitter or defensive sub. Kapler played for Joe Maddon with the Tampa Bay Rays, and if he took notes on how Maddon deployed Ben Zobrist (or, um, Bryant during Maddon's Cubs days) then he'll have the right idea.
The Giants will enter Friday night with a three-game lead over the Dodgers in the National League West. Holding onto the division was never going to be easy -- even before the Dodgers landed two more All-Stars -- but landing Bryant is about as good of an individual move as the Giants could have made, and it's one that could pay dividends from now through October.
Cubs grade: C
As with a few of the other trades the Cubs made before the deadline -- specifically those involving Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez -- this one stinks from an emotional and fan perspective. There's no good reason -- none whatsoever -- why one of sports' most prestigious franchises couldn't have kept their core together beyond their team control years.
Breaking from the Rizzo and Báez deals, the return on Bryant doesn't look like a clean win from a baseball trade perspective, either.
Canario, 21, has spent the season in A-ball, where he's hit .235/.325/.433 with nine home runs and 15 steals (on 18 tries). He has above-average raw power borne from explosive bat speed, but his proneness to strikeouts (he's punched out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances this season) will limit his ceiling as it pertains to hitting for average and getting on base. Defensively, he's likely to end up in right field where his arm can be an asset. He's already on the 40-player roster, meaning the clock is ticking.
Kilian, 24, has carved up the opposition in 15 starts across High- and Double-A this season. He's posted a 2.13 ERA and a 10.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio while punching out 96 batters in 84 innings. Kilian's arsenal isn't loud, but he locates well and it's hard to knock his numbers. The Cubs can only hope he continues to outpitch the sum of his parts as he climbs the ladder.