Ex-Mets target Kris Bryant thriving with Giants after deadline

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants’ trade-deadline splash launched a pair of home runs Monday, while the Mets’ trade-deadline ripple watched helplessly, already knocked out of the game. 

Kris Bryant is enjoying a love affair with the Bay Area and already suggesting he is open to making it his permanent home. 

Rich Hill has looked like he is at the end of his never-ending career, and Javier Baez played in 10 games before back spasms sent him to the injured list. There is still time for the trend to reverse, but the weeks since July 30 have reflected poorly on the Mets’ decision-makers. 

The Mets talked with the Cubs about Bryant, the do-everything star about to hit free agency, but the conversations never gained traction. Instead, they wound up with Baez, who projected to fill in for Francisco Lindor until the duo became an electric double-play combination. An oblique strain continues to hound Lindor, though, and that combination has been theoretical. 

Kris Bryant
Getty Images

The Giants, who just signed shortstop Brandon Crawford to a two-year extension, stayed away from Baez, who strikes out too much for the club’s liking. Their front office — including GM Scott Harris, who had been plucked from the Cubs — opted for Bryant, who had posted a .948 OPS in his first 15 games with the new club and been the darling they’d hoped. 

San Francisco values flexibility as much as any team, and he opened as a third baseman until Evan Longoria returned, and since has played all three outfield spots because he can be plugged anywhere. 

To bring in Bryant, the Giants had to part with young outfield prospect Alexander Canario, who has a high ceiling but is several years away and was on the 40-man roster. For a team that has emerged as perhaps baseball’s best, he was expendable. The Giants are paying the remainder of Bryant’s $19.5 million salary for 2021. 

To bring in Baez, the Mets had to part with 19-year-old Pete Crow-Armstrong, a 2020 first-round pick — a price that was elevated because Chicago picked up most of Baez’s remaining salary as the Mets tried to avoid creeping over the competitive balance tax. 

The Mets, who entered Tuesday’s game at Oracle Park 3 1/2 games back in the NL East, have looked increasingly like a team that is heading home once the regular season ends. Bryant, a Giant and not a Met, is open to making his new team his new home. 

“There is just something that feels a little different about. It feels right,” Bryant told reporters after his two homers against the Mets bullpen Monday. 

When it was pointed out that his agent, Scott Boras, rarely allows his clients to be locked up before every team can bid on them, Bryant said, “I run the show.” 

Pete Crow-Armstrong was dealt to Chicago in the Javier Baez deal.
Pete Crow-Armstrong was dealt to Chicago in the Javier Baez deal.
Corey Sipkin

And he has put on a show, with the Mets witnessing what a high-profile, superstar addition can do to a team with World Series hopes. 

They had to go to San Francisco to see it firsthand, though, because Hill and Baez have not been the answer. 

— With Mike Puma 

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