CHICAGO (CBS) -- Even though we knew something was coming, it was still a bit stunning to see Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, and Kris Bryant all get traded away from the Cubs last week.
In Chicago sports lore, many Chicagoans would agree the three have earned their place in the company of names like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Ryne Sandberg – and even none of those icons won a World Series with the Cubs; in fact, Banks and Santo lived their entire lifetimes without seeing the Cubs win a World Series at all. But of course, thanks to the magical season of 2016, Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant find themselves also in the company of long-deceased men like Frank Chance, Johnny Evers, and Joe Tinker from the previous World Series champion Cubs team in 1908.
It's the end of an era. But Cubs President of Baseball Operations said it is not a rebuild and he said these moves will help the Cubs stay competitive and hopefully be great again quicker.
"One of the things that I was really aware of – and we talked about it internally a lot – was, you know, when I look at organizations like the Tigers, the Giants, the Phillies, they had really good runs, they got to the end of their cycle, and they had five-plus year droughts because they basically ran to the end of the cliff, and they fell off, and they had to rebuild," Hoyer said. "We were willing to go to that point if this was a winning team this year. But we weren't, and so with that, I think we were able to, in my mind, speed that process up dramatically, because we're able to acquire a lot of young talent – some on the Major League teams, some that will be in the minors."
While Hoyer said these are necessary moves to "speed up the rebuild," he also said not like the Cubs didn't try to re-sign any of them.
In fact, Hoyer said they made offers to all three of them, with all of them set to be free agents after the season.
"We made offers to everyone that I believe will stand up exceptionally well, and we weren't able to reach deals. Does that frustrate me? It does. But I have to be honest – I know we put our best foot forward," he said. "I'm proud of the offers we made, and like I said, I believe they stand up very well. So ultimately, we weren't able to reach deals, and that is a fact, but I'm proud of what we offered."
Bryant on Friday was traded to the San Francisco Giants for two prospects - outfielder Alexander Canario (ranked San Francisco's No. 9 prospect) and pitcher Caleb Kilian (ranked No. 30).
Baez and righty starting pitcher Trevor Williams were traded Friday to the New York Mets, in exchange for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Rizzo went to the New York Yankees on Thursday for pitcher Alexander Vizcaíno (ranked the Yankees' No. 9 prospect) and outfielder Kevin Alcantara (ranked No. 13).
Their departure leaves only catcher Willson Contreras, outfielder Jason Heyward, and starting pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta as players from the 2016 World Series team still on the Cubs' roster, although Arrieta spent three seasons in Philadelphia from 2018 to 2020 before returning to the Cubs this year. Manager David Ross was the team's backup catcher in 2016, his final season as a player.
for more features.