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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant is done with criticism from Cubs fans

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant has had absolutely enough criticism from Chicago Cubs fans.

Bryant has been enduring a rough season and is batting .205/.289/.331, which are all career-low marks for him by far. But on Saturday, Bryant finally delivered a big game, though the Cubs lost 9-5 to the Chicago White Sox.

Bryant smashed a grand slam in the third to put the Cubs up 5-2, though they blew the lead the next inning and lost.

The home run was only Bryant’s third of the season and his first since Aug. 12. Finally hitting a home run may have given him an opportunity to respond to Cubs fans who have been critical of him.

Bryant said he is done worrying about the criticism.

“I don’t give a sh–. I really don’t. That’s a good answer. I’m over it. Sometimes I go out there and go 4 for 4 and its not good enough for some people so I DON’T GIVE A SH–,” he said, via ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

Blocking out the criticism as much as possible could be helpful in Bryant overcoming the issues. The more you dwell on that sort of criticism, the more it becomes a negatively-reinforcing loop and harder to break out of a slump.

The Cubs are headed to the playoffs after clinching the NL Central and need Bryant in the proper mindset. The home run and his dismissal of the fan criticism indicates he may be in a better spot.

Cubs still plan for Kris Bryant to hit leadoff

Kris Bryant

The Chicago Cubs remain set on their leadoff hitter for the 2020 season.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Cubs manager David Ross said that he is holding firm with the plan for Kris Bryant to hit leadoff and Anthony Rizzo to be the No. 2 hitter, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

Ross had first introduced the plan back in February, but it was fair to question whether or not that would still be the case during a shortened 2020 campaign. Bryant, 28, hit .282 with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs in 2019, operating mainly out of the No. 2 or the No. 3 hole.

Kyle Schwarber saw the majority of the time as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter last season, but the results were somewhat less than stellar. Bryant has a career .385 OBP, and while his stolen base numbers are fairly lacking, Chicago is committed to shaking things up from their underwhelming 2019.

Nats have moved on from Kris Bryant trade talks?

Kris Bryant

The Washington Nationals were among the teams interested in trading for Kris Bryant, but they may be moving on.

Washington has a big hole to fill at third base since losing Anthony Rendon in free agency. Jon Heyman says the Nats are giving Carter Kieboom a shot to replace Rendon at third and that the team is not in talks with the Chicago Cubs about Bryant.

Heyman further notes the Nats did not check on Nolan Arenado, because if they wanted to pay that kind of money to a third baseman, they would have just re-signed Rendon.

Bryant was part of trade rumors all offseason as the Cubs looked to shake things up, but they will move forward with the 2016 NL MVP. Interestingly, Bryant is expected to bat in a new spot in the order for the upcoming season.

Bryant rebounded from a rough 2018 season when he was bothered by a shoulder injury to hit .282 with 31 homers and a .903 OPS in 147 games last season.

In addition to the 22-year-old Kieboom, the Nats have Asdrubal Cabrera who can play third.

Kris Bryant to hit leadoff for Cubs

Kris Bryant

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross appears set to shake things up at the top of the lineup.

Ross said Wednesday that he intends to use Kris Bryant as his leadoff man to start the season, marking a significant change to how the Cubs have set things up in years past under Joe Maddon.

The leadoff spot has been a huge issue for the Cubs since Dexter Fowler’s departure. Last season, Cubs leadoff hitters hit a combined .212 with a .294 OBP. The contrast with Bryant is stark: last season, he hit .282 with a .382 OBP. Putting a player with that much power at the top of the lineup instead of the middle of it may be unconventional, but it’s probably going to solve the team’s leadoff woes.

This may also be an indication that the trade rumors surrounding Bryant aren’t worth paying attention to any longer.

Kris Bryant: Players not buying Rob Manfred’s apology about World Series trophy

Kris Bryant

Rob Manfred issued an apology on Tuesday for the way he trivialized the World Series trophy, but Kris Bryant says there is a feeling around Major League Baseball that the commissioner meant what he originally said.

While discussing the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in a recent interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Manfred downplayed the importance of the World Series trophy — which is called the Commissioner’s Trophy — by referring to the award as a “piece of metal.” Manfred made the remark while explaining why he chose not to strip the Astros of their 2017 World Series title. On Tuesday, Manfred apologized for the poor choice of words.

Bryant is not buying the apology, and he says others around the league aren’t either. The Chicago Cubs star told reporters on Wednesday that he cherishes his World Series trophy and believes Manfred meant what he said when he called it a “piece of metal.”

Players are not pleased with Manfred at the moment. Most feel that the commissioner made a huge mistake by not punishing any players who were involved in Houston’s cheating scheme, and Manfred has made the situation worse with his recent media tour addressing it. He’s well on his way to unseating Roger Goodell as the most hated commissioner in sports.

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on potential Kris Bryant trade to Phillies

Bryce Harper Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the teams that have been mentioned as a possible suitor if the Chicago Cubs trade star third baseman Kris Bryant, but Bryce Harper does not seem as giddy about the idea as you might expect him to be.

Harper and Bryant both grew up in Las Vegas and played with and against each other as kids. They’ve been friends for a long time, so naturally Harper was asked what he thinks about the rumors that Bryant may be traded to Philly. Harper expressed some concerns about the financial ramifications of it and spoke highly of Phillies third base prospect Alec Bohm.

Harper is right, and his rationale explains why a Bryant trade to Philly is very unlikely. Bryant will make more than $18 million this season and likely much more than that in his final year of arbitration eligibility in 2021, then he’ll be in line for a massive free agent contract. The Phillies are already paying Harper $26 million per year, and there are only so many of those contracts a team can carry.

If Bohm is as good as advertised, it doesn’t make much sense for the Phillies to acquire Bryant. There are other teams interested in the Cubs star that are probably more likely to land him.

Phillies, Nationals reportedly have interest in Kris Bryant trade

Kris Bryant

One MLB superstar has already been traded in a blockbuster deal with Mookie Betts being sent from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night, and there is at least a chance Kris Bryant could be next.

Bryant’s name has been at the center of trade rumors throughout the winter, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have shown interest in the star third baseman.

Bryant recently lost a grievance he filed against the Cubs in which he sought an extra year of service time, so he is under team control for two more seasons. While that makes him more appealing to keep on the roster, it also could increase his trade value. Though, it was basically a foregone conclusion that he was going to lose the grievance, so that isn’t really new information.

The Cubs have reportedly discussed a potential blockbuster trade involving Bryant with another NL team, but a deal still seems unlikely.

Bryant, 28, batted .282 with 31 home runs and 77 RBI in 147 games for Chicago last season. The Cubs would likely need to be blown away by an offer to trade him this offseason, though they may not want to wait until next winter if they don’t plan to re-sign him. As we saw with the Betts deal, Bryant’s value could decrease significantly when he’s entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Report: Cubs, Rockies have discussed trading Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado

Kris Bryant

Though we’re fairly late in the MLB offseason, there are still some major potential trades being talked about within the league, including one that would be huge for both teams.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers told NBC Sports Chicago’s “Kap and Co.” that the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies have discussed a one-for-one Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado trade, via Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago. The Rockies would pick up salary as part of the trade.

The Cubs were seen as one of the teams who could be a good match for a potential Arenado trade. While interesting, it certainly doesn’t sound close, and is the product of creative discussions.

We’ve been hearing Bryant trade rumors all offseason. He has two years to go before he becomes a free agent, while Arenado is due $234 million through 2026. Both are star players, and both could still get traded this offseason, but there has been little momentum in trade talks — between these two teams or with anyone else — so far this winter.

Kris Bryant loses grievance against Cubs after seeking to hit free agency sooner

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant has been openly critical of the way Major League Baseball allows teams to manipulate service time with players, and the star third baseman tried to fight the system by filing a grievance against the Chicago Cubs. As expected, Bryant was unsuccessful, meaning he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

Bryant lost the grievance he filed against the Cubs in which he sought an extra year of service time, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Bryant had argued that the Cubs intentionally manipulated his service time by having him spend the first two weeks of the 2015 season in the minors, which is something many teams have done with their rising stars. Unfortunately for Bryant and others, it’s very hard to prove there was manipulation, as teams can argue they had young players begin in the minors for any sort of development reason.

The 28-year-old has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, though talks do not seem to have gone anywhere. Teams may be willing to give up more for Bryant now that it is a certainty that he has two years of team control remaining, though it was somewhat of a foregone conclusion that he was going to lose the grievance.

Bryant unloaded on the Cubs prior to last season for leaving him in the minors for two weeks in 2015 following his impressive spring. Other players in similar situations have also considered filing grievances, but the outcome of Bryant’s case will likely discourage that.

Kris Bryant’s wife Jessica responds to those accusing third baseman of faking flu

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant’s wife Jessica went on Twitter Friday to shoot down fans who think the third baseman is faking the flu.

The Chicago Cubs are holding their 2020 fan convention this weekend, and things began with opening ceremonies on Friday. A few reporters notified the public that Bryant was ill and would be making an appearance on Friday, but otherwise might not be around much.

Trade talks have surrounded Bryant this offseason, so some skeptical fans thought the illness was an excuse to keep the former MVP away from the team since he might not be around long.

Jessica decided to shoot down any of those rumors by saying her husband was legitimately ill.

Bryant did make an appearance at the opening ceremonies and received a huge applause.

Bryant has been part of trade rumors that involved the Phillies in December and the Nationals more recently, but he still remains with the Cubs.

Bryant is set to make $18.6 million in 2020 after avoiding arbitration by agreeing to a deal with the Cubs. He is still waiting on the outcome of his service time grievance with MLB, which will dictate whether he becomes a free agent after the 2020 or 2021 season.