How Kris Bryant impacts the race for the NL West crown

How Kris Bryant impacts the race for the NL West crown

The MLB trading deadline has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of action right up until the 1pm deadline yesterday that had fans glued to their social media feeds.

The titans of the National League, the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres all made significant acquisitions to help booster their chances of winning the division.

The Padres went and got bullpen help when the acquired Daniel Hudson from the Washington Nationals. They also traded for outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Chicago "Fire Sale" Cubs.

The Dodgers made a huge splash by not just getting three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, but also All-Star shortstop Trea Turner in a blockbuster deal with the (also fire sale) Nationals.

Those deals were done a day before the deadline. So all eyes were focused on Farhan Zaidi and Giants GM Scott Harris as the deadline approached. Were they going to be able to pull the trigger and get their own blockbuster of a trade? The emphasis seemed to be on starting pitching and the bullpen.

However, four minutes before the deadline, the Giants brass did the steal, heck highway robbery, deal of the deadline by acquiring All-Star left fielder Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs for prospects (OF) Alexander Canario and (RHP) Caleb Kilian. They were considered the ninth and 30th best prospects in the Giants organization respectively.

The fact that Zaidi was able to pull this off without having to give up Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos or any of the top five prospects to pick up the talent of Bryant is, to this date, the best thing him and his team have done to make the Giants serious postseason contenders. Not only did they not have to give up a highly touted prospect but also didn't have to trade anyone on the current 26-man roster. Combining those two facets makes this the biggest steal of the deadline.

"It's nice to have a deep (prospect) system," said Zaidi on how much leverage the team had in negotiations. "Because when you don't you kinda get asked about the same three guys every time. A lot of times when you don't have a deep system, the guys at the top (you) are really reluctant to move. It's been a great job by our player development group, who have brought in a lot of talent to the organization."

The Dodgers paid a pretty price in order to get Scherzer and Turner. They gave up four minor leaguers, including Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, the organization’s top two prospects. While Turner is coming into his prime as a shortstop, Scherzer hasn't been quite the same pitcher this season, despite being named the starting pitcher for the NL at the All-Star game two weeks ago. The 37-year old, who just had his birthday four days ago, has been dealing with a groin injury since June. Will he be able to be effective for the Dodgers, who also traded for pitcher Danny Duffy, down the stretch?

What the Giants will have in Bryant is a power hitting guy who also hits for average. He also can play all of the outfielder spots, with centerfield being his favorite, as well as third base and even second base if needed.

"Initially I envision taking advantage of the versatility", said Giants manager Gabe Kapler on he plans to use Bryant defensively. "One thing that stands out to me is what Kris said, when I had an opportunity to connect with him today, and he said 'I'm down to play anywhere. I'm down to hit anywhere. I just want to help this team win.' He was genuinely excited to be a part of this."

Kapler said he believes, if the logistics go well, Bryant could start at third base today against the Houston Astros.

According to Zaidi, knowing that he was going to be traded, Bryant wanted to be a Giants if it was all possible.

"This was (Bryant's) his number one choice destination if he did get traded. Obviously this makes us feel great this is where he wanted to be. He mentioned he was a big Barry Bonds fan growing up. That's cool to hear, somebody that's in tune with the history of your organization and is excited to put on your uniform."

The team is excited as well to have a caliber of a player in Bryant joining a team that will soon have back in its lineup the likes of Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt and Tommy La Stella. The recent success of Lamont Wade Jr. gives Kapler a lot of flexibility on what lineup he wishes to send out each night.

59 games is a long way to go to determine who will benefit from each team's respective trades, but it's going to be fun final two months of the season as this race will go down to the wire and for the first time in five years, we all should be happy to belong for the ride.

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Third Baseman Kris Bryant sat down with the media before Sunday's game to discuss what it feels like to be traded to San Francisco.


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