Cubs

Cubs: Father's advice leads to Kris Bryant's All-Star homer off White Sox ace Chris Sale

Cubs: Father's advice leads to Kris Bryant's All-Star homer off White Sox ace Chris Sale

SAN DIEGO — Mike Bryant may command a little more respect from Kris at the Thanksgiving table this year.

Turns out it was dad’s advice that led to Bryant’s first-inning home run at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Petco Park. Before the game, Mike Bryant told his son to look for a first-pitch fastball from Chris Sale in the first inning.

[SHOP: Buy a Kris Bryant jersey]

Though he originally planned to take a pitch, Bryant changed his mind. The switch resulted in the Cubs third baseman ripping a 96-mph inside fastball from Sale for a solo homer. In doing so, Bryant (24 years, 190 days) became the youngest player to homer in the All-Star Game since David Wright (23, 203) in 2006 at Pittsburgh.

“He said ‘First-pitch fastball, be ready for it,’ ” Bryant said. “It’s like, ‘No dad, I’m going to take the first pitch.’ Obviously I should listen to my dad more.”

Cubs free agent Nick Castellanos reportedly agrees to deal with Reds

Cubs free agent Nick Castellanos reportedly agrees to deal with Reds

Yesterday, it was reported that the Reds were the favorite to ink Cubs free agent right fielder Nick Castellanos. On Monday, it appears those two sides have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal, per The Athletic's C. Trent Rosencrans and Ken Rosenthal: 

Given the Cubs' desire to steer clear of the luxury tax in 2020, the odds of a reunion with Castellanos were always low. The club's recent signing of outfielder Steven Souza only furthered that belief.

To lose him to a divison rival, though, undoubtedly stings, especially considering the gumption with which the Reds have approached the offseason. Cincinnati has also notably added Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Wade Miley this winter.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the deal is for $64 million over four years and added that the deal includes at least one opt-out.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

Reds are favorite to sign Cubs free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, report says

castellanos_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Reds are favorite to sign Cubs free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, report says

The odds of a Cubs-Nick Castellanos reunion happening have seemed slim all offseason. Although they've been connected to him at various points this winter, bringing back the fan favorite right fielder would require some serious financial gymnastics for the North Siders.

With the Cubs cognizant of the luxury tax, the division rival Reds have emerged as the favorite to sign Castellanos, according to MLB insider Jon Morosi.

The Reds have emerged as the frontrunner to sign free-agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, one source said Sunday, and there are indications the sides have made progress over the past several days. While Cincinnati is now the favorite to sign Castellanos, the Giants also have negotiated with the 27-year-old in recent weeks.

Because of their desire to stay under the luxury tax in 2020, the Cubs have only made low-cost acquisitions this winter. They were penalized $7.6 million for eclipsing the threshold in 2019; if they do so in 2020, they'll be taxed 30 percent on their overages —  and see their 2021 draft pick drop 10 spots, if they go over the figure by $40 million.

At this point, the only realistic scenario where the Cubs re-sign Castellanos is if they shed salary. However, they've reportedly signed outfielder Steven Souza to a one-year deal, giving them five outfielders (along with Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward). That might be the biggest indicator of a reunion not being in the cards.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.