Bryant was never diagnosed with a concussion after a pitch hit his helmet, but the Cubs handled their prized third baseman with an abundance of caution, and understandably so. He had been off to a fine start to 2018, hitting .319 so far this season.
Kris Bryant exited Sunday’s game after a pitch struck his batting helmet.
During the first inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies, a pitch from German Marquez hit the head of the Cubs star.
Scary moment as #Cubs Kris Bryant gets drilled in the brim of his batting helmet by Rockies pitcher German Marquez. Bryant taken out of the game after trainers checked on him. @WGNNewspic.twitter.com/S8f3KmfF7I
Chicago manager Joe Maddon and members of the training staff immediately came out to check on Bryant, who was obviously shaken up. Bryant was removed from the game and replaced by David Bote.
Bryant has blossomed into one of baseball’s biggest stars. He is a two-time All-Star and won the National League MVP in 2016. In 18 games this season, Bryant is hitting .319 with two home runs and 11 RBI.
The MLB season gets underway on Thursday, so the focus will inevitably be on the playoff race and who is contending for a World Series title. There is another worthwhile subplot to watch out for, and that is the race for the Most Valuable Player award in each league.
There are many players who could win it, but we’ve narrowed it down to five big candidates in each league. Of course, there are other worthy candidates, and this certainly doesn’t rule out a dark horse candidate emerging and putting together a season worthy of award recognition.
Here are ten big preseason candidates for the Most Valuable Player awards in both the American and National League.
1) Mike Trout, Angels
Trout is pretty much atop this list in perpetuity. His fourth-place finish in last year’s MVP voting was actually his worst since catching on as a full-time player, but that had more to do with missed time due to injury than production. He still hit .306 with a career-best 1.071 OPS, plus 33 home runs. He’ll be heavily featured in the conversation as long as he stays healthy, even if the Angels aren’t a huge factor in the playoff race.
Well, a user named “bighig44” took it upon himself to hop into the comments section of Bryant’s post and wrote, “Man, hit the weight room instead of the green, pretty boy. You could have the power of [Aaron] Judge or [Giancarlo] Stanton if you put on another 20lbs, and you’d still look pretty. What a waste.”
Unfortunately for him however, Bryant was not here for the slander and promptly hit back with an epic response.
Bryant replied “@bighig44 I think I’ve had a pretty decent 3 years all while looking pretty doing it. Save it pal.”
Indeed, Bryant, 25, has racked up a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP, two All-Star appearances, and a World Series ring, all in his first three seasons in the MLB. He has also averaged 31 home runs and 91 RBIs a year in that span. Thus, bighig44, who appears to have since deleted his comment, may need some aloe vera for the biggest burn we’ve seen on this side of Marcin Gortat.
“Not much at all,” Bryant told 670 The Score’s Bernstein and Goff Show when asked how much the pair had discussed their futures. “With us coming to town to play them, I’m sure he was getting a bunch of questions about the whole story of him coming to play for the Cubs one day. And I don’t think he’s ever said it, that he wants to (play for the Cubs). I don’t think he’s ever mentioned it. I think he’s just having a whole lot of fun with it.
“We haven’t really talked about (the future). We haven’t played together since we were probably maybe 10 or 11. It would be a lot of fun for us if we were on the same team in the big leagues.”
The two are both from Las Vegas and played together as kids. There have even been some rumors that Harper wants to join up with Bryant on the Cubs when he becomes a free agent after 2018. It all seems far-fetched, and Bryant seems to be indicating that Harper is just being a troll.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon apparently feels otherwise.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer, Maddon said Bryant is likely to be out through the weekend. The Cubs have an off day on Monday, meaning Bryant might not be back until Tuesday at the earliest. The team apparently is considering a DL stint for their slugger.
Jeimer Candelario started at third base in Bryant’s place on Thursday. He slugged his first career home run in Chicago’s 5-4 win over Washington.
Bryce Harper has heard the rumblings that he wants to sign with the Chicago Cubs when he becomes a free agent following the 2018 season, and he has downplayed them anytime the subject comes up. However, he did nothing to cool the speculation with a social media post on Tuesday.
With the Cubs visiting the Nationals this week, Harper shared a photo on Instagram of himself with Kris Bryant and the two star players’ better halves. Harper and Bryant both grew up in Las Vegas and were on the same Little League Team. Check out the hashtag:
“Just two Vegas boys living out our dream with the ones we love! This is what it’s all about..What a time to be alive #MLB #702 #Back2BackOneDay,” Harper wrote.
Harper is smart enough to know that the hashtag #Back2BackOneDay is going to get people talking. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily mean Harper wants to sign with the Cubs. He could just be hoping that he and Bryant, who are 24 and 25 respectively, end up on the same team at some point in what should be two very lengthy and successful MLB careers.
It’s human nature for Harper to want to play with his buddy, but even he probably doesn’t know where he’ll end up playing in 2019. With the kind of money he is expected to make if he hits the free agent market, there are only a few teams that could afford signing him. Bryant is under team control with the Cubs through 2021, but he could actually end up being one of the reasons Chicago can’t afford to sign Harper.
The Chicago Cubs have Kris Bryant under team control through 2021, which is a good amount of time. But they would like to lock up their cornerstone third baseman for even longer. The question is whether Bryant’s side is open to such discussions. The early indications are that the answer is no.
Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs made a contract offer to Bryant, but his representatives did not counter. That appears to mean they are not interested in engaging in long-term extension talks.
This does not mean that Bryant won’t sign with the Cubs long-term, it just likely means that he is in no hurry to sacrifice some free agent years for the sake of financial security.
Some players sign long-term deals early because that locks them into big-money guaranteed contracts. They get some security in case they get injured or their play declines, while the team gets a few more years out of the player when they otherwise could leave as free agents, typically at a slightly discounted rate.
Bryant’s agent is Scott Boras, who is notorious for seeking megadeals for his players. So it’s no surprise they wouldn’t be rushing to sign a long-term deal for a 25-year-old who is coming off an MVP season. It also doesn’t help that the there still might be some bitterness from Bryant’s side towards the Cubs for the way they handled him two years ago.
Kris Bryant has a hilarious explanation for why he doesn’t do bat flips as a player.
Player celebrations has become a divisive issue recently, especially with some Latin players such as Yasiel Puig in the league and doing well because it presents a culture clash. Many American players don’t do it because they’re taught it’s a sign of disrespect to pitchers and the game in general. Other countries such as Korea and Cuba like their players to celebrate with bat flips because it makes the game more fun.
Here’s why Bryant says he doesn’t do it.
“If it’s halfway up the video board, that’s it, that’s enough of a disgrace for the pitcher that you don’t need to add anything to it,” Bryant told 670 The Score’s Dan Bernstein and Jason Goff during an interview on Tuesday. “You crushed a home run, you felt good about it. He felt bad about it. And it’s good.”
“If you’re watching a home run for a little bit, I don’t know if that’s necessarily showing up the other team, but certain guys play that way and certain pitchers are going to be upset seeing that,” Bryant said. “But I think if you add more of that fun to the game, let guys be themselves — I’ll never do it, I’ll be the same boring Kris that I’ve always been — but if guys are going to do that, I think sometimes we’re a little too sensitive with certain things.
“I’ll never do it because I don’t want to be the guy that thinks it’s gone and it doesn’t go out. Because once you’re that guy, you’re always that guy.”
So if Bryant is quiet and humble and boring, when does he actually talk trash? Only in a few situations.
Kris Bryant says the only trash talking he does is to his wife and brother in board games and cards.
Purists have to love those comments from the Chicago Cubs slugger. Not only is Bryant a brilliant young player, but he’s also quite humble. The only disappointment from him is that despite having 67 home runs in his brief career, Bryant says he doesn’t have much interest in participating in the Home Run Derby. That’s OK, because he shows his power off enough to fans in games that matter as is.