He’s still here. He’s still a Cub. For today. Maybe for tomorrow. And maybe for the next day. After that? Increasingly it feels like the answer is “probably not,” but we’ll get there when we get there.
In the meantime, Kris Bryant spoke at length before and after yesterday’s game about all that is swirling at the moment, what comes next for him, and the mental health concerns that attach not only to this specific situation, but just being a pro athlete in general. You can read Bryant’s comments here, here, here, and here, among other places. Some of the highlights …
⇒ On being part of a team that is selling for the first time in his career: “It’s just been different. We’ve always been pretty much buyers or whatever the term you want to use at the Deadline. And that’s always been exciting. This is all part of the journey. It’s part of the game, part of the cycle of baseball …. [We’re] having as good a time with it as you can. You can’t control it. Any time a rumor pops up, I say, I’m going here and Rizz is going there. And I was like, ‘Hey, maybe we’ll still be playing against each other.’ That’s what you’ve got to do. You can’t just sit there and sulk or whatever it may be. You can’t just think about it non-stop, because then you go crazy and it takes away from what you do on the field.” A perfect attitude, easily stated and I’m sure much more difficult to execute. But kudos on Bryant, who is raking right now, and clearly able to stay focused. (Also, pretty sure the Rizzo playing-against-each-other comment would be related to the ongoing Red Sox and Rays rumors.)
⇒ Bryant has opted not to get daily updates on rumors, but he knows some of it is serious this time around (and his agent, Scott Boras, does get updates from Jed Hoyer – there are no complaints on the communication). Still, he’s not hanging on every last thing: “I guess I’m prepared for [the possibility of a trade]. Maybe earlier on I wasn’t as prepared for it and let more of the rumors get to me. Now I just don’t even really need to focus on it, because when it comes down to it, too, like I found out this offseason through Jed, a lot of it is just noise. So you can’t really believe certain things.”
⇒ Whether he’s traded or not, Bryant will, of course, say the right things about the relationship with the Cubs and the possibility of re-signing later on:
If Kris Bryant gets traded, he’ll “absolutely” be interested in signing back with Cubs: “Front offices have their agenda and what they want to do. Owners know what they want to do moving forward. I don’t know where I fit into those plans. We’ll find out.” https://t.co/XgeRvOnc0B
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) July 28, 2021
⇒ Why would he foreclose that possibility in conversations with the media this week? I understand that it has to be asked, but we all know the drill. Bryant won’t be extended in the next few days, and he’ll reach free agency as one of the most versatile, impactful players on the market. He will have his choice of many teams and he’ll likely be able to pick the top-dollar offer from somewhere he wants to be. Maybe that’ll be Chicago with the Cubs – I believe him when he says he’s happy and would gladly stay – but I am not sure the top-of-the-market offer will be there.
⇒ The full mental health comments right here:
Really good question from @M_Montemurro to Kris Bryant about how he battles the mental side of trade rumors, especially with athletes being more comfortable talking about mental health. Take the time to read KB’s answer. #Cubs pic.twitter.com/JExE1pIPFV
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) July 28, 2021
⇒ Bryant is ever thoughtful and positive, even when answering questions – again and again – about his unknowable future, but you do see and sense in him a desire to just be done with this nebulous phase:
I’m so sorry everything has happened this way Kris, you deserve so much better. 😔
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) July 28, 2021
Kris Bryant still has Cubs on his chest. pic.twitter.com/AsnjKPnxXi
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 27, 2021