Bryzzo, Kimbrel among numerous ex-Cubs in 2021 playoffs


The 2021 MLB Postseason field is set, and while it doesn’t include the Cubs for the second time in seven seasons, it does feature plenty of familiar faces to the North Side faithful.

Eight of the 10 playoff teams have at least one former Cub from the last three seasons, the Dodgers and Rays being the two exceptions — although Mark Prior is Los Angeles' pitching coach.

Seven of the 10 feature players who were on the Cubs in the last calendar year. In this case, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and Houston are the exceptions.

Five of the 10 have at least one player from the Cubs’ 2016 championship team.

Here’s a breakdown of former Cubs representing other clubs in October:

Giants: Kris Bryant, Tommy La Stella

Bryant is in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven big-league seasons. The Cubs traded him to San Francisco for a pair of prospects at the 2021 trade deadline.

Bryant has been as versatile with the Giants as he was in Chicago, playing all three outfield spots and third base. He hit .262/.344/.444 in 51 games after the trade.

La Stella signed a three-year deal with the Giants in February and hit leadoff in 33 of his 76 games this season.

José Quintana and Tyler Chatwood are also in the Giants organization. Both were DFA’d near the end of the season.

Brewers: Colin Rea, Dan Vogelbach

Rea made nine appearances with the Cubs last season, including a pair of starts. The Cubs released him in January so he could pursue an opportunity in Japan.


Milwaukee signed him to a minor-league deal in August, so he’s eligible for the playoffs if called upon. He made one six-inning relief appearance (this past weekend) with the Brewers.

Former Cubs top prospect Dan Vogelbach could make the Brewers’ roster as a big bat off the bench. Additionally, lefty Brett Anderson, who spent time in Chicago in 2017, is on the 40-man roster.

Astros: C Martín Maldonado, RP Kendall Graveman, RP Brooks Raley

Maldonado spent two weeks with the Cubs in 2019 before being traded to the Astros at the deadline for Tony Kemp.

Graveman didn’t pitch for the Cubs in 2019, after signing a one-year deal the previous offseason, while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He’s been dominant between the Mariners and Astros this season. Raley had a cup of coffee with the Cubs from 2012-13.

Manager Dusty Baker is back in the playoffs with Houston for a second straight season. With the Astros’ AL West championship, he’s won a division title with five teams, including the Cubs in 2003.

White Sox: Craig Kimbrel, Ryan Tepera, Billy Hamilton

The Cubs traded Kimbrel and Tepera to the White Sox in separate deals at the deadline this summer, the former netting the Cubs Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer. It’s Kimbrel’s eighth playoff berth in 12 career seasons.

Kimbrel had an up and down two months on the South Side after the trade, while Tepera missed time with a late-season finger injury. Both are setup arms ahead of closer Liam Hendriks.

Hamilton will play a key reserve role as the Sox look to get back to the World Series.

And, of course, former Cubs top prospects Dylan Cease and Eloy Jiménez are two big contributors for the South Siders.

Red Sox: Kyle Schwarber

Like Bryant, this is Schwarber’s sixth playoff berth in seven seasons. The Cubs non-tendered him last December and, after signing with the Nationals, he made his first All-Star team behind a torrid first half. 

Washington traded him to Boston at the deadline, and Schwarber was just as good at the plate — if not better. He’s picked up a new position with the Red Sox, playing some first base.

Yankees: Anthony Rizzo, Aroldis Chapman

If Schwarber starts at first base in the AL Wild Card Game, his Yankees counterpart will be former Cubs teammate Rizzo — the first member of the All-Star core Jed Hoyer traded at the deadline. 

Former Cubs top prospect and second baseman Gleyber Torres plays beside Rizzo on the Yankees infield. The Cubs traded him in 2016 for Aroldis Chapman, who is New York’s closer.

If we go even further back, DJ LeMahieu — whom Theo Epstein traded shortly after taking over the Cubs front office — also is in New York, although he’s out until at least the ALCS with a sports hernia.

Cardinals: Jon Lester

Lester is back in the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons. He signed with the Nationals in January, after the Cubs declined his 2021 option, and was traded to St. Louis at the deadline.

After an inconsistent stretch in Washington, the lefty turned things around in St. Louis, posting a 4.36 ERA in 12 starts.


Whether Lester makes his first playoff start since the 2018 NL Wild Card Game depends on if the Cardinals get past the loaded Dodgers in this year’s win-or-go-home game.

Braves: Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Jesse Chavez

Atlanta beefed up its outfield at the deadline after Ronald Acuña Jr. went down with a torn ACL, acquiring Pederson from the Cubs and Soler from the Royals. 

Pederson has moved to a reserve role but has an extensive track record of success in the playoffs from his time with the Dodgers. Soler, who’s making his first playoff appearance since 2016, had a strong two months at the plate with Atlanta.

Chavez, one of Joe Maddon’s go-to late-inning arms after the Cubs acquired him in 2018, has been reliable with Atlanta. Drew Smyly could also be on their playoff roster. He missed all of 2018 with the Cubs while recovering from Tommy John. 

Outfielder Terrance Gore also is an option.

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