It shouldn’t be a surprise given all that preceded it, or given his comments about being on the Giants this year. But just to sew things up on the Kris Bryant portion of the 2021 Trade Deadline: yes, by the time the deadline actually rolled around, Bryant was ready to go.
That isn’t in conflict with the tears we saw when the trade came down or after his return to Wrigley Field, because it was a long and complicated relationship with the only big league team he’d ever known. But when Bryant saw Anthony Rizzo traded and then Craig Kimbrel traded and then Javy Báez traded, as this Sports Illustrated feature lays out, Bryant was upset that it wasn’t happening for him:
For so long, Kris Bryant never wanted to leave the Cubs. But in his last months with Chicago, he finally wanted out.@stephapstein on the former MVP as he returns to the playoffs this weekend with his new team: https://t.co/HK61liXQEP pic.twitter.com/C9dI1SDihf
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 8, 2021
From the article, which is a great long read if you want more depth on Bryant and his family:
The miraculous, curse-breaking 2016 World Series champions never became the juggernaut players and fans expected. They didn’t even make it to the Division Series after ’17. And this season was the worst of all. The Cubs had woken up on June 25 tied for first place. Then they lost the next 11 games. On July 29, they sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo—one of Bryant’s groomsmen—to the Yankees. Two hours before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, the Cubs traded closer Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox; an hour later, they sent shortstop Javy Báez to the Mets.
That left Bryant in the visitors’ dugout at Nationals Park, talking to Jess on the phone, counting the minutes. Is this really not going to happen? he thought.
“I got bitter,” he says.
A few seconds later, Jess would tell him that a friend scrolling Twitter had seen the news: He was headed to the Giants. He would rejoice, then burst into tears. He would watch as Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, the most obvious trade chip on the market, remained with his moribund team and pulled himself from the lineup in frustration. “Man, I feel for him,” Bryant says.
He would scramble to get to San Francisco from D.C., eventually flying home to Chicago and catching a plane the next morning. He would join the team with the best record in the sport. He would be in the Giants’ lineup for the National League Division Series against the rival Dodgers. He would find himself beaming nearly all the time.
Bitter that he wasn’t being traded, and then beaming that he had been. Since we know an extension wasn’t happening, and we know the 2021 Cubs were flailing, why wouldn’t he feel that way? Guys like Bryant want to compete, and if you’re moving on anyway, why not get a run at a ring when the rest of your team is getting torn apart? I totally get how he was feeling – or that is to say I can understand what he’s saying, and I can imagine it was all a swirl of complicated emotions.
It should be noted, too, that Bryant appreciated specifically that the Cubs had traded him to the Giants. He is the one who said, after the Trade Deadline, that he felt Jed Hoyer did right by the traded players:
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 1, 2021