Kris Bryant enters spring training seeking some assurance from the Cubs amid swirling trade rumors
Bryant would like to be 'in the loop' more, but hasn't been told he will remain with the Cubs
Major League Baseball's regular season will get underway in about five weeks' time. Even so, the Chicago Cubs have yet to give third baseman Kris Bryant any assurance that he will remain with the organization heading into Opening Day. Bryant, predictably, would prefer that change.
"I would like one. I would like to be in the loop a little bit. Obviously, they don't have to keep me in the loop by any means," Bryant told reporters, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times on Saturday. "I feel like I've earned a little respect here, just how I go about my business and just who I am as a player and person, too."
Bryant held court with the Chicago press Saturday after arriving at camp. He discussed a number of other topics, including the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal (he thinks the players should be punished) and his views on social media (he's not a fan). He also talked about his rejected grievance -- brought by the players union on his behalf -- and how he holds no ill will against the Cubs organization.
Said grievance all but certainly delayed Bryant's situation being resolved. Had he won his case, he would've been eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Instead, he'll hit the open market after 2021. Either way, the Cubs would've had trouble finding a suitable trade with the grievance -- and its potential outcomes -- dangling above like the sword of Damocles.
Earlier this week, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein addressed Chicago's offseason, and Bryant in particular, during a radio interview with 670 The Score. "Yeah, I think so," he said when asked if the trade rumors surrounding Bryant had been overblown. "We said we were open to moving anybody, and it's going to take on a life of its own."
Bryant, 28, has been a high-quality player since debuting in 2015, when he was voted NL Rookie of the Year. In addition to a career 136 OPS+ and 25 Wins Above Replacement, he won the 2016 Most Valuable Player Award. If he is made available, the Philadelphia Phillies are expected to be one of his top suitors, according to league speculation.
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