Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant endured a lot of criticism for a poor 2018, and he’s using it to fuel him going forward.
Bryant said Saturday that he had heard the criticism lobbed at him in a year that saw him hit .272 with 13 home runs while being bothered by a nagging shoulder problem. He added that such criticism motivates him to avoid a repeat performance.
“Definitely, a little bit,” Bryant said, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN. “But, boy, it was great. When you’re not playing, you have a whole lot of time to just sit there and either go through a Twitter rabbit hole and start seeing things about yourself, or seeing things about ‘trade him’ and this and that.
“And I’m like, ‘All right, I’m motivated. Keep ’em coming. Bring it.'”
Bryant says he is healthy to begin 2019. That should help him get back to where he was in his first three seasons, where he hit .288 and averaged over 30 home runs per year.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant spent a lot of 2018 hindered by a shoulder problem, but that is now behind him.
Bryant said Monday that his shoulder is fully healthy and he is back to his normal swing after battling issues last season.
Bryant confirmed he is fully over his shoulder injury and said he's back to his typical 1-handed swing.
"I've been a really dang good baseball player with that swing my whole life. I was looking at me when I was 8 years old and I swung the same way."
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) February 18, 2019
Bryant missed a lot of time with that shoulder injury that just kept lingering even as he tried to come back from it. It affected his output as well. He hit .272 with 13 home runs in 102 games, and hopes to be much better and fully healthy in 2019.
The rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals is alive and well, even though it’s only January.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant called the city of St. Louis “boring” at his team’s fanfest on Friday. That got a quick retort from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who said “only stupid players and losers” make such comments.
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All stars, elite players and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city. There should be respect and you should play and compete with respect… only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by bryant and dempster .. #ceroRespectforthisstupidplayers #QuevivaStlouis #LOVESTL
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Molina has never been shy about firing back at perceived disrespect. Bryant looked to be having a little bit of fun with his comments in front of a partisan crowd, but the Cardinal catcher is taking them completely seriously. The rivalry won’t be boring in 2019, if nothing else.
While it was not exactly a secret, one of Bryce Harper’s closest friends in baseball made it pretty clear that the two wouldn’t be playing together next season.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said Harper wouldn’t be signing with the Chicago Cubs this offseason despite some rumors during 2018 that such a union was on the table.
Kris Bryant said Bryce Harper isn’t signing with the Cubs.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) January 18, 2019
Bryant and Harper grew up in Las Vegas together and played on the same Little League team, sparking rumors that the two would like to pair up. That may be true, but Bryant would know if Harper was coming, and he’s ruled it out just as definitively as his manager has. Harper’s ultimate destination remains a mystery, but the Cubs appear to be completely out.
Kris Bryant isn’t particularly close to free agency, but that didn’t stop the Chicago Cubs from trying to lock him down long-term.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan via Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation, Bryant was offered a long-term extension “well north of $200 million”, but he and agent Scott Boras declined, preferring to go through the arbitration process.
It’s an interesting decision for the Cubs, if true. Bryant just finished his first arbitation year and is under team control through 2021, so he can pretty safely play things out. The Cubs were clearly aiming to buy out his arbitration years and lock him down well into his 30s. Bryant is taking a risk by declining, but a calculated one, as he stands to earn a lot more if he stays healthy and keeps producing for another three seasons. The health was a bit of a scare at times in 2018, but he looks poised for a rebound year in 2019.
Kris Bryant is expected to return to the Chicago Cubs’ starting lineup on Friday.
Bryant was hit by a pitch in the hand/wrist area against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday and left the game. He underwent some testing that revealed bruising and was held out of Wednesday’s game. Bryant was not in the starting lineup for Thursday’s series finale against Pittsburgh either.
However, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that Bryant should be in the lineup on Friday against the Cardinals.
Kris Bryant expected back in #Cubs lineup tomorrow, Joe Maddon says
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) September 27, 2018
David Bote has been playing third base in Bryant’s absence.
Bryant, who has battled a shoulder injury this season as well, is batting .276 with an .834 OPS.
Kris Bryant cannot catch a break this season.
The Chicago Cubs third baseman left Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after being hit by a pitch on the wrist. Bryant was hit in the bottom of the fourth inning. He was looked at by the trainers but remained in the game.
Later in the sixth, Bryant was replaced at third base by Ian Happ, who hit for the pitcher in the bottom of the fifth.
Bryant has dealt with a shoulder injury since May. He had two extended absences during the season and has only played in 99 games this season. The former MVP is batting .276 with an .834 OPS this season, though he only has hit two home runs since the All-Star break.