Kris Bryant Not Disgruntled with Cubs, Slams False Rumors in First Spring Presser

Kris Bryant met the media in Mesa Saturday morning to discuss everything from his drawn-out service time grievance to trade and contract extension rumors. What follows are some quick notes from the press conference, along with some of the tweets I composed hastily while listening to it.

The point Bryant probably drove home most and hardest was that at no point has he been disgruntled with the team during the grievance process. He pushed forward despite knowing from the start that he was likely to lose, but that was a matter of fighting for something he believed in. If you’ve been reading Cubs Insider for at least the last few months, you already know that.

You also know that the initial report from USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, one that was subsequently amended sans retraction, was a bunch of hooey. This was always a matter of principle for Bryant, who said more than once that he respected the team for following through on the matter themselves and for doing so in a dignified manner. He was simply working to help those players who’ll follow him.

The soft-spoken third baseman was adamant that he does want to remain in Chicago, contrary to what poor reporting and bogus speculation have held. He told reporters that what hurt him most about the rumors this offseason — which he doesn’t read directly, but sees via friends — is that he might be traded because he doesn’t want to be in Chicago. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Bryant also made sure to shoot down any of the reports that he is asking for a contract of a certain value, and specifically called out David Kaplan’s report from 2018 that Bryant had turned down an extension of “well north of $200 million.” CI reported at the time that the rumor was inaccurate and that no such offer had been made, something Bryant confirmed at the presser.

Kaplan further reported Wednesday afternoon on ESPN 1000 some very specific contract numbers he says Bryant’s camp is seeking. This runs contrary to the way Scott Boras, Bryant’s agent, runs things and is different from anything else that’s been heard to this point. What’s more, CI has learned from a source with knowledge of the situation that no numbers have been exchanged.

“Here’s the problem that the Cubs keep running into: They’re not going to re-sign Kris Bryant,” Kaplan said. “Zero. Zero chance that he’s here after 2021. He wants between $275-300 million. You giving him that? Because I wouldn’t.

“Because having spoken with Kris’s camp in the last three weeks, they are looking for a deal that takes him to age 35 or 36. He’s 28. There is zero scenarios, listen to me clearly, zero, no matter how well he plays, that the Cubs are giving him a 7- or 8-year fully guaranteed deal with a no-trade clause.”

As he’s said in the past, Bryant was clear that he is the one making the ultimate decision. He hired Boras because he wanted the best in the business at what he does, but Bryant said multiple times that his is the opinion that matters. He was adamant about wanting to remain in Chicago, though he admitted that he doesn’t hold all the cards on that front.

After getting all the major topics out of the way, talk turned to Bryant’s impending fatherhood and how he’s going to spoil his baby boy with a cool shoe collection. He’s also hoping to put either a golf club or a guitar — Bryant took lessons at Guitar Center this winter — in the boy’s hands. However, grandpa Mike Bryant is going to be there with a bat no matter what.

While this presser won’t serve to eliminate all the chatter, it should at least help to cut off some of the more foolish rumors that have been floating around. With full understanding that I’ve engaged in some shameless self-promotion here, I want to again make note of the fact that this outlet has provided accurate info on Bryant and his situation throughout the last few years.

That isn’t to say all other outlets have not, because some very much have. It’s just that you may want to consider the source and possible agendas when you consume content.

Alright, time to get back to baseball.

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