AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
A massive fire sale was held by the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs lost most of their top veteran talent, with Kris Bryant moving to the San Francisco Giants and Anthony Rizzo going to New York Yankees. Trevor Williams, Javier Baez, and Trevor Williams all heading to New York Mets. Craig Kimbrel stayed in Chicago, but was traded to the White Sox.
These are the Cubs' players who are returning to the team in these deals:
Bryant deal: Alex Canario and Caleb Kilian, pitchers
Rizzo deal: Pitcher Alexander Vizcaino, outfielder Kevin Alcantara.
Baez deal: outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong
Kimbrel deal: Second baseman Nick Madrigal, pitcher Codi Heuer.
What is the Cubs lineup for the remainder of the season? It's likely to look something like this:
Rafael Ortega, CF Willson Contreras C Patrick Duffy, 1B
Ian Happ, LF Matt Duffy, 3B Justin Heyward, RF David Bote, 2B Sergio Alcantara, SS
Spotrac reports that Chicago's projected competitive payroll is $162.7million, $47.3 million less than the threshold for competitive balance taxes.
A sell-off was not unexpected at 50-54, fourth in the NL Central, and 9.5 games away from the second wild card berth. Baez, Bryant, and Rizzo were all headed to free agency and could leave the Cubs in the winter. It made sense to bring back young prospects for these players.
It will be a bittersweet experience for Cubs fans who have seen this core of Cubs players lead their team to the postseason in five years, including a historic World Series title in 2016.
The transactions left many disappointed, not just Cubs fans.
The Cubs are experiencing a transformative day. They have lost their championship core and will likely use a hodgepodge lineup to play the remainder of the season. Many young players should have the opportunity to show their skills down the stretch.
It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do during the offseason. They could theoretically try to bring Bryant and Baez back. They could also have given them long-term extensions.
The best Cubs baseball era since the mid-1900s is over.