Kris Bryant receives standing ovation in return to Wrigley Field
The four-time All-Star, who won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016, was traded to the San Francisco Giants at the deadline in July. He had spent his entire seven-year career in Chicago before being shipped out.
Before Friday's game, Bryant told reporters he was looking forward to returning to Wrigley Field to get the closure he didn't receive after being traded.
"I felt like the trade was going to happen eventually," Bryant said, according to MLB.com. "From the very beginning of the season, there was a lot of talk of it. And it finally happened, and obviously, being on the road, I had to get here and there was a lot of stuff going on. I didn't really get that closure, so it is nice to go back so quickly and kind of say bye to some of the people that I didn't get to say bye to. The workers, the staff at the field, the security. The people that made mine and my family's lives so much easier over the years. Those are probably the people that are more important to say thank you to because they don't get the recognition that they deserve."
The Cubs selected Bryant second overall in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. He ranks sixth in Cubs' history in career OPS (.886) and slugging (.508).
Chicago essentially had to trade Bryant because they could not afford to extend his expiring contract and wanted to get something in return for him instead of letting him walk away for nothing.
While a long-term extension wasn't in the cards with the Cubs, Bryant could sign a deal with the Giants, who see him as a perfect fit for their roster because of his versatility in the field and powerful right-handed bat.
The former MVP is hitting .265/.328/.487 with six home runs and 14 RBI in 31 games for the Giants this season to help San Francisco continue its push for the first spot in the National League West.