Cubs' Updated Lineup, Payroll After Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez Trades

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2021

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, left, and Kris Bryant sit near each other on the bench before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Chicago. Manager David Ross gave both the players the day off. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The Chicago Cubs just had a massive fire sale

With Kris Bryant heading to the San Francisco Giants, Anthony Rizzo off to the New Yankees, Javier Baez and Trevor Williams going to the New York Mets and Craig Kimbrel staying in Chicago but being dealt to the White Sox, the Cubs stripped most of the premier veteran talent from their roster. 

Here are the players the Cubs are getting back in those deals:

  • Bryant deal: pitcher Caleb Kilian and outfielder Alex Canario
  • Rizzo deal: pitcher Alexander Vizcaino and outfielder Kevin Alcantara.
  • Baez deal: outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong
  • Kimbrel deal: second baseman Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer.

So, what is the Cubs lineup likely to look like for the rest of the season? Probably something like this:

  1. Rafael Ortega, CF
  2. Willson Contreras, C
  3. Patrick Duffy, 1B
  4. Ian Happ, LF
  5. Matt Duffy, 3B
  6. Justin Heyward, RF
  7. David Bote, 2B
  8. Sergio Alcantara, SS

Per Spotrac, Chicago's projected competitive balance payroll currently sits at $162.7 million, $47.3 million below the competitive balance tax threshold.

At 50-54 and fourth in the NL Central as well as 9.5 games out of the second wild-card berth, a sell-off wasn't a surprise. Rizzo, Bryant and Baez were all heading to free agency and possibly leaving the Cubs this winter. Getting back a haul of young prospects for those players made sense. 

Nonetheless, it will sting for a Cubs fanbase that watched this core of players lead the team to the postseason in five of the past six years—including a curse-breaking World Series title in 2016.

T.J. Quinn @TJQuinnESPN

If you’re friends with a Cubs fan, please, just check on them.

Michael Lee @MrMichaelLee

The Chicago Cubs breaking that 108-year World Series curse in 2016 is still remarkable but that franchise should be ashamed that it never made it back with all of that talent. Seeing all of those guys get dealt at the deadline this year is reminder of how bad they fumbled the bag

Cubs fans weren't the only ones upset after the transactions:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kris Bryant was emotional after getting traded to the Giants <a href="https://twitter.com/BRWalkoff?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BRWalkoff</a><br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBONFOX?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBONFOX</a>)<a href="https://t.co/cLcQZ3PZka">pic.twitter.com/cLcQZ3PZka</a>

Max Goodman @MaxTGoodman

Anthony Rizzo says going to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Yankees?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Yankees</a> was an amazing feeling, but it's also been an emotional 24 hours:<br><br>"Had a really amazing time in Chicago, did a lot of special things with a lot of good memories and friends I've made at the ballpark that will last forever."

It's a transformational day for the Cubs, who stripped themselves of a prior championship core and will likely trot out a makeshift, hodgepodge lineup for the rest of the season. More than several young players should be given the chance to prove themselves down the stretch. 

What the Cubs do in the offseason will be fascinating. In theory, they could attempt to bring Bryant, Baez and Rizzo back. But they also could have locked them up to long-term extensions long ago. 

More than likely, the best era of Cubs baseball since the mid-1900s just ended.