Kris Bryant Talks About Testing Concerns, Not Wanting to Be Traded, and Eventual Extension Possibilities

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Kris Bryant Talks About Testing Concerns, Not Wanting to Be Traded, and Eventual Extension Possibilities

Chicago Cubs

With everything at Cubs Camp understandably tightly controlled, the manner by which players meet with the media is going to be very regimented. Thus, you have things like “today was Kris Bryant’s day.”

Bryant just spoke about a range of topics, including how the testing issues that halted other camps have indeed impacted the Cubs:

Players are supposed to be tested every other day in order to catch positives before there is a chance of too much transmission among a group of players or personnel. Going five days between tests is completely unacceptable if this is going to work. Bryant is spot on: we knew there would be a rapid adjustment process, but a total failure of testing? That cannot happen. Either that’s cleaned up dramatically this week, or the season is very clearly imperiled.

Bryant, who is a new papa, is not considering opting out, though he does have concerns:

The decision is a personal one for all players in both directions, but it’s useful to note context where available. For Bryant, opting out would mean no service time this year, which would mean next year would no longer be his walk year before free agency – he’d be under control for two more years. Given his experience with team control and the service time grievance, there was never any chance he would opt out unless there was a high-health-risk situation.

But come on. You need the players to be safe and feel comfortable. MLB has failed them this week.

As for a midseason trade, Bryant is trying not to worry about it:

I’d add that, in addition to it being a uniquely challenging thing on a human level, I have a very hard time seeing Bryant netting the Cubs a huge haul in a trade this year, when so much about what this season will be is uncertain (a team is, what, gonna give up a huge cache of prospects and then see the season shut down before the playoffs?), and when his expected raise in arbitration is going to make his final year of team control a very pricey one in the new economic environment. I wouldn’t be too worried if I were Bryant.

Instead, maybe this whole situation will present a different opportunity? An extension where one was not realistic before? Bryant doesn’t want to speculate at a time like this, but he sure sounds open to it:

What’s going to be very difficult for teams and players heading into this offseason and on into next year is that they not only have to account for the massive losses of revenue this year, but they ALSO have to account for anticipated losses next year if COVID-19 is still a problem (and at some level, it likely will be), and they ALSO have to account for anticipated losses tied to general loss of marginal fans from the sport being away for so much time, and they  ALSO have to account for the CBA expiring after next year.

I could offer an explanation on why that all combines to mean it’s a really good idea for players of Bryant’s caliber to lock down whatever extension they can get right now, but I am a very risk-averse person. Bryant, who has already made a ton of money and has bet on himself before, may not share those concerns. He could be fine with playing out next year and hitting free agency, just as it long seemed he would. The timing of the pandemic is terrible for his career trajectory, because he’s now got this tough decision foisted upon him, with so much disruption, and when he is otherwise scheduled to be a free agent in his age 30 season.

But, as Bryant rightly says, it still feels off to get too into the financial weeds on something like this when so much of our focus is on how the pandemic is hurting so many people. In the grand scheme of things, financially, Bryant will be fine. It’s just an open question now about whether the situation has changed our expectations for whether he’s more open to signing an extension at a level the Cubs are willing to offer. It seems slightly more likely than it did back in February.

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.