Kris Bryant was at Wrigley Field this week to receive his Player of the Year Award, which generated a great deal of Bryant-related bits. So let’s just roll ’em around, Bullet-style.
- When asked about whether Bryant has a shot at making the Opening Day roster (given the service time considerations), I was intrigued by one possible pre-constructed explanation offered by Jed Hoyer for holding Bryant down a little bit at the start of next season (CSN): “Obviously, just like in September, the roster status will be a factor coming out of spring training. Sometimes you preserve depth at the beginning of the season, at the end of spring.” There is certainly a lot of roster shuffling that happens at the end of the Spring, and having open 40-man spots allows you to aggressively nab useful pieces (the Cubs got Shawn Camp and Luis Valbuena, among others that way). Is it *the* reason to keep a Kris Bryant down? Nah. But it’s a reasonable discussion point while you’re waiting out the three weeks necessary to secure an extra season of team control.
- On that point, don’t lose sight of an important distinction: with Bryant, I highly doubt the Cubs are going to try and hold him down past the Super Two cutoff, which doesn’t come until mid-summer (and which would allow them to save money in Bryant’s eventual arbitration seasons). Instead, we’re talking only about Bryant being held down for three weeks at the start of the season, which will then give the Cubs an entire extra year of team control on Bryant. Three weeks for a full season in his prime. I know it’s ugly, but it’s hard to justify not making that trade.
- Bryant says that “batting average is the devil” (Tribune), by which it appears he means that it doesn’t really help him to track his stats. I agree with that, but I also agree with what his sentiment says, whether he means it or not: batting average is not a particularly good metric for evaluating performance, especially for a player like Bryant. It’s the devil. (And pitcher W/L is some kind of Super Devil.)
- Bryant says he knows fans have been gaga about him (he didn’t mention anything about sparkling, specifically … ), and says that, “Cubs fans are the best fans in baseball.” (ESPN) Take that, St. Louis.
- Jon Greenberg with a fun read on all of the Bryant hype.
- Earlier, we discussed some of Hoyer’s comments on Bryant potentially spending some time in the outfield in Spring Training.
- Back when the September promotions came and it was clear that Bryant wouldn’t be among them (as the Cubs had indicated for a long, long time prior), there was quite a bit written that, well, didn’t make a whole lot of sense. So, obliging my self-preservation instinct, I decided I wasn’t going to say boo about it for a little while, lest I say something I would later regret. I’m not going to say anything now that I would have said then, but I do want to point out an interview that Jesse Rogers conducted an interview with Bryant and Theo Epstein a couple weeks ago that is worth a read if you missed it. Among the salient bits: Bryant realizes it’s a business, Epstein says the Cubs will keep outfield “fresh” for Bryant by giving him some time there in the Spring, and Bryant is a very polished interview.