CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Kris Bryant has a reputation for heightened maturity, and perhaps the best sign of it came Wednesday, when he was asked to respond to the comments made by Scott Boras, his agent.
Because it appears the Cubs will leave Bryant in the minor leagues to start the season and thereby back up Bryant's free agency by one full year, from 2020 to 2021, Boras essentially accused the team's ownership of not caring about winning.
This is an interesting interpretation of a franchise that just hired one of the baseball's most expensive managers and committed $155 million to lure an ace in Jon Lester, and should be translated as strategic rhetoric, just like the Cubs' assertion that Bryant could use some more time in the minors. Like Republicans and Democrats bickering philosophically over the budget, there is a lot of posturing in play in Boras v. Cubs ownership, which will be confirmed the next time Boras represents a major free agent and calls the Cubs to weigh their interest.
But when reporters approached Bryant on Thursday, he did not play dumb, and he did not hide behind Boras. From Jesse Rogers' piece:
"Scott works for me," Bryant said Wednesday morning. "He does a great job. It's nice to have a bulldog working for you rather than a poodle. He definitely sticks up for his players and wants the best for them."
And later in the piece:
Bryant says he's trying to limit the distractions and there's nothing he wants to do more than "bring a World Series to Chicago" but the issue of him making the team keeps coming up. With Boras' involvement, it's become a national story. Bryant doesn't seem to mind.
"He's the best that's ever been in this game," Bryant stated. "He's kind of polarizing. Some guys don't like him but as a player you have to love him. He's there fighting for you every day. He wants the best for you. It's not just for him. He's a great family man. I can call him at any time of the night and ask a question. He's there to answer it. That's the type of guy you want on your side."
Bryant took ownership, rightly, because he controls the conversation.