Kris Bryant now has as many home runs playing for the Giants as they have losses since trading for him.
San Francisco's top trade deadline acquisition evened that ledger Monday night, hitting not one, but two homers in leading the Giants to a 7-5 win over the New York Mets at Oracle Park. Bryant hadn't homered since his first game in a Giants uniform, but it was only a matter of time until he connected for more.
"Well, he was close," manager Gabe Kapler said of Bryant after the victory. "Even some of the balls that he was striking in the air, it was either just off the end or maybe just a tiny bit in on him, but he had really good, aggressive passes, and you kind of knew that a quality game like this was coming for him. He really drove the baseball tonight, and we needed it."
After Monday's performance, Bryant is now slashing .321/.377/.571 since coming over in the trade with the Chicago Cubs. Surely, that's precisely the kind of offensive output San Francisco hoped for, and yet, it might not be his most valuable contribution thus far. The defensive versatility he provides has afforded Kapler an enhanced ability to maximize the lineup, and it's no coincidence that the Giants have the best record in the majors since acquiring him.
"He's been huge," starting pitcher Kevin Gausman said, "not just in the batter's box but in the field, being able to play right field, left field, third base ... he can really kind of hop around, play wherever you want him to play. I think from day one, just him walking in the clubhouse, another guy in the clubhouse who's won a World Series championship .. along with the MVP and the NL Rookie of the Year, all those accolades, I think everybody just really respected him even before he walked in the door. And I think he's done a good job of keeping everybody on his side."
When the Giants traded for Bryant, they did so knowing full well that he is headed for unrestricted free agency this coming offseason. And, given the way he has produced since coming over, two things are increasingly obvious: He is someone the Giants would love to re-sign, and doing so is not going to come cheap.
But considering how Bryant describes his experience with the Giants thus far, they've got to be feeling very good about their chances of getting a deal done.
"I know it's all super new to me," Bryant said, "the whole being here and playing with these guys, but there's just something that feels a little different about it. It feels right. They're just really good people. They put their head down, they go to work, they're not flashy, and I kind of see myself as that type of player, too. And I think that's kind of what the Giants organization is all about. They want guys that are good people that go to work, keep their head down. Like I said, we're not flashy, we go out there and do the job and win and move on to the next one, and that's a good feeling."
Plenty can change between now and the end of the season, but those comments sound more like a when than an if. And when asked if his agent, Scott Boras, would let him re-sign before hitting the open market, Bryant responded with a piece of information that ought to make Farhan Zaidi's ears perk up.
"I run the show."