Cubs

Cubs' Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo to participate in Home Run Derby

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Cubs' Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo to participate in Home Run Derby

The Cubs' two young sluggers are going to flex their muscles during All-Star festivities next week in Cincinnati.

It was announced Wednesday night that Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo will both participate in the Home Run Derby, coming Monday night at Great American Ballpark.

Bryant and Rizzo are both members of the National League All-Star team. Bryant, a rookie, is making his first All-Star appearance, while Rizzo is making his second.

Entering Wednesday night's game, Rizzo tied for seventh in the NL with 15 home runs, and Bryant was tied for 19th with 12.

[SHOP CUBS: Get a Kris Bryant jersey right here]

Joining the two Cubs in this year's Derby are Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder and Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.

This year's Derby will have a head-to-head format, with Bryant taking on Pujols in the first round and Rizzo squaring off against Donaldson. According to CSN's David Kaplan, Bryant's dad will pitch to him.

Bryant and Rizzo will be the first Cubs to participate in the Home Run Derby in more than 10 years. Sammy Sosa made the last of his four appearances in 2004.

Should Bryant or Rizzo win, they'll be the fourth Cub to do so, joining Sosa (2000), Andre Dawson (1987) and Ryne Sandberg (1990). That would give the Cubs more Derby winners than any other franchise.

Theo Epstein on Manny Machado rumors: 'It's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at'

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USA TODAY

Theo Epstein on Manny Machado rumors: 'It's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at'

Despite the MLB trade deadline being two months away, rumors of the Cubs potentially acquiring Orioles' shortstop Manny Machado have intensifed recently. Regardless, Cubs president Theo Epstein made his point on the rumor frenzy quite clear Thursday.

"I can say with regards to this particular spasm of media frenzy, it is outrageously outsized when you compare it to the reality of the situation," Epstein said Thursday on 670 The Score.

Machado is having an unbelievable season with the Orioles, hitting .328 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs entering Thursday. If traded, he would undoubtedly provide a boost to any ballclub, but that is a big "if."

Of course, the MLB season is not even two months old yet, which Epstein pointed out as being a big factor in the situation.

"It's May," he said. "We're still figuring out who we are as a team this year. We're still figuring out our place in the division.

"There's an atypical amount of trade discussion in May this year, which is essentially nil."

Rumors of the Cubs being a potential player in acquiring Machado make sense. At 15-34, the Orioles have the worst winning percentage (.306) in the MLB. With their current positioning, trading Machado could start a rebuild that the Orioles might just need. The Cubs have a 24-year-old shortstop in Addison Russell that the Orioles could acquire to a) replace Machado and b) use as the face of their rebuild.

Be that as it may, Epstein said the rumors are something that the Cubs are "just rolling our eyes at."

"I understand it's natural for people to connect the dots and there to be this kind of frenzy from time to time, but it's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at," he said. "It's not like July, where every now and then there's lots of coverage on deals that are actually being discussed or actually might happen.

"This one is just out there in fantasy land at this point."

Podcast: Albert Almora Jr. dishes on his role and the Cubs’ unsung hero that keeps things loose behind the scenes

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Albert Almora Jr. dishes on his role and the Cubs’ unsung hero that keeps things loose behind the scenes

Albert Almora Jr. joins Kelly Crull on the Cubs Talk Podcast to weigh in on a variety of topics, including his budding bromance with rumored Cubs target Manny Machado, his expanded role and how he spends his time off away from the ballpark.

Plus, Almora has a surprise pick for the organization’s unsung hero, stating the Cubs would’ve never won the World Series without this guy.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: