If the title looks familiar, it’s probably because Kris Bryant already said back in February that he’d “absolutely” be interested in signing an extension with the Cubs. They just haven’t come to him with one lately and previous talks failed to proceed beyond exploratory phases. Then there was the report about him turning down an offer “well north” of $200 million.
Some have mistakenly interpreted this as a sign that Bryant’s goal is to reach free agency, or that he’s upset with the Cubs for the way they held him back at the start of the 2015 season. Wrong though it is, such a view is understandable. After all, Bryant recently spoke about being furious with the way MLB is marketing young stars despite their teams undeservedly keeping them in the minors.
But as loyal CI readers have no doubt learned by now, it’s not a matter of Bryant being unhappy with his current situation. He’s very well aware of how good he has in Chicago and what it would mean for his legacy to remain with the Cubs for many years to come.
“Absolutely,” Bryant answered Tuesday when asked about spending his entire career in a Cubs uniform. “I think anytime you can show a loyalty to the team that drafted you and you came up with and you established relationships with all these people, any human being would want to do that.
“It’s no secret that everybody in this clubhouse loves playing in Chicago. We love everything about the organization. Everybody in this clubhouse would want to finish their careers with this team — myself included.”
At the same time, he’s not in any rush to negotiate a new deal and he knows that things will work out eventually. Bryant’s job is to worry about baseball while letting other folks concern themselves with the business side of things.
“I’ve always been really good at just focusing on the season at hand and not getting too ahead of myself,” Bryant said. “I’ve always said that I think when you get too ahead of yourself, that kind of affects your performance and your thoughts and I don’t want to get there. I think it would be a disservice to everybody here and the fans if I’m starting to think about my whole future.
“I want to focus on winning this year, because last year didn’t go the way we wanted it to, and I want to do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I’m 100 percent here this season and that’s all that matters to me.”
Though most of his talk was serious, Bryant did manage to sneak in some of the playful sense of humor he’s become known for. When asked about Mike Trout’s massive extension, the Cubs star quipped that all the marquee players being locked up meant more attention being paid to him when he becomes a free agent.
Wait, let’s change that to if he becomes a free agent. Which he shouldn’t if the Cubs are smart…and if they actually manage to find the money that somehow went missing this winter. Between their new Marquee Network going live in early 2020 and a few big deals falling off the books over the next few seasons, Tom Ricketts’ arms should once again grow long enough to reach into those deep pockets.
None of this Bryant stuff is new, as acknowledged earlier, but it’s always nice to get further confirmation of what we’ve been saying here for a couple years.
Speaking of which, those quotes came from a blog post by MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, who maintains a separate Medium account that features a lot more content than just what runs on Cubs.com. Bastian is a must-follow for on social media, but those of you who aren’t inclined need to make his blog part of your Cubs routine.