Chicago Cubs: Re-grading the fateful 2021 trade deadline

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Kris Bryant
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Kris Bryant trade netted the Cubs a pair of exciting young prospects

The last trade the Cubs made was sending Kris Bryant, perhaps the figurehead of the golden era, to San Francisco in exchange for power-hitting outfielder Alex Canario and late-blooming starter Caleb Kilian. Bryant was solid enough in San Francisco, but they ultimately let him walk in free agency where he joined the division rival Colorado Rockies.

Originally it appeared as though Canario would be the main piece, and he has flashed the power that the front office clearly likes. Canario even earned a promotion to Double-A after posting a .944 OPS in South Bend, with an encouraging .360 OBP and .584 SLG. It quickly became apparent however, that Caleb Kilian was potentially the big fish of the trade.

Kilian has perhaps been the systems biggest riser, rivaled only by Crow-Armstrong. Since being acquired, the right-hander hasn’t looked back, with a dominant perfect showing in the AFL championship being the beginning of a meteoric rise. The Cubs started Kilian in Triple-A in 2022 and he’s continued his roll, rocking a minuscule 1.31 ERA to go with 10.5 K/9 and a solid BB/9 of 3.4. If Kilian keeps up his current pace, he’ll be at Wrigley soon enough.

While Bryant was responsible for memories that will last Cubs fans lifetimes, Canario and Kilian could be key parts of the next Cubs team that does the same.

  • Original Grade: C-
  • New Grade: A

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Though the trade deadline was a stark ending to such a brilliant era of baseball at Wrigley, the early results from the moves have been overwhelmingly positive. There will be another competitive era of Cubs baseball,and hopefully we can look back at this deadline as the beginning of a new era.