Commentary: Thank you Kris Bryant
Bryant was a big part of the Cubs 2016 World Series run (Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports)

Commentary: Thank you Kris Bryant

by - Staff Writer -

Just before Friday’s trade deadline came the announcement that Kris Bryant was traded by the Cubs to the San Francisco Giants for a pair of prospects.

The movement of Bryant was largely expected, but that didn’t make departing with one of the organization’s best players any easier for the Cubs or their fans.

When the Cubs drafted Bryant in the 2014 MLB draft, he was in the middle of one of the most impressive stretches in professional baseball history. Bryant had just won the 2013 Golden Spikes award for best college baseball player — he followed that up with a continuous string of dominance over his peers, winning the 2014 Minor League Player of the Year award, 2015 NL Rookie of the Year award, 2016 NL MVP (no player has ever won all four in a row) all en route to leading the Cubs to their first World Series championship in over 100 years.

If there was an accurate signal that the Cubs were good and one that they aren’t anymore, look no further than Bryant’s arrival and departure. Bryant came on the scene in 2015 and helped lead the Cubs to six straight winning seasons and five trips to the postseason. The Cubs dipped under .500 this year and Bryant was traded to the team with the best record in the league, meaning Bryant will once again be on a winning team.

Bryant’s value to the Cubs has been undersold, as he is one of the sport's most valuable players since his arrival. Besides Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, not many players have been more valuable than KB according to WAR.

The Las Vegas native did everything the right way. He displayed good contact skills, solid speed, great base running, above-average defense at five or more positions, and of course massive power from the right side of the plate.

What made Bryant’s excellence so impressive was that he always handled himself with class, whether it be bouncing around the diamond or batting order — or handling the media and speculation that his days in Chicago were numbered.

After Bryant’s fantastic beginning to his career, he stayed great but failed to live up to the epic expectations his first two seasons garnered for him. As a result, Bryant’s tenure feels a bit underappreciated, as the last three years of it were flooded with trade rumors as opposed to fan lore.

But in his six-plus seasons with the Cubs, Bryant was able to win rookie of the year, MVP, made four all-star teams and through it all he was never afraid of the moment.

Service time and agents complicated things from the get-go for the arguable best Cubs prospect of all-time, but Bryant delivered as good as any prospect ever has — and the Cubs have a World Series ring to show for it.

So Kris, thank you!

Thank you for:

-- Your arrival that signified we were ready to win

-- The way you displayed all five tools of the game so effortlessly

-- The smile you flashed with Anthony Rizzo

-- Some of the biggest hits in Cubs history

-- Your unselfish attitude in terms of position or spot in the order, which always benefited the Cubs

-- The classy way in which you handled yourself on and off the field

-- Accepting Chicago as your second home, even when rumors swirled that it wouldn’t be for long

-- The walk-off home runs

-- The accolades, homers, trips around the bases, great plays in the field, and of course fielding the last out of game seven

-- Your contributions to the 2016 World Series Championship

-- Being the best player on the best team in Cubs history

Keeping KB in Chicago always seemed daunting, but Bryant has a place in Cubs history forever. Whether it is with the Giants, a different team, or back in Chicago, good luck Kris, keep making history.

And thank you, Kris, once again, for everything!

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