Cubs

Cubs, Kris Bryant say there’s no bad blood after service-time issue

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Cubs, Kris Bryant say there’s no bad blood after service-time issue

Kris Bryant buried the disappointment of not making the team in Arizona.

“I don’t think about the past at all,” Bryant said Friday at Wrigley Field. “I’m here now. And I’m ready to play some ball.”

That’s exactly what the Cubs want to hear. Anyone inside the interview room/dungeon expecting a sarcastic comment – or any public hints of bitterness – doesn’t know Bryant.

The media circus followed Bryant, who sat at the podium before his big-league debut and looked out at the row of six TV cameras, inside a cramped cellar filled with about 40 media types. The dream-come-true vibes felt different than the it’s-just-business rhetoric from spring training.

[MORE CUBS: The wait is over - Kris Bryant arrives at Wrigley Field]

Super-agent Scott Boras ripped Cubs ownership and again questioned the Ricketts family’s commitment to winning. The players’ union called it a “bad day for baseball” when the Cubs sent Bryant down to minor-league camp. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told Boras to stay out of the team’s business. Bryant Watch became a trending topic on Twitter.

The Cubs needed Bryant to miss at least 12 days from the major-league calendar in order to gain an extra year of control and kick his free agency down the road, until after the 2021 season. Bryant missed exactly 12 days – while the Cubs went 5-3 and surged into first place – and did his time at Triple-A Iowa.

“I sure hope I can look back on this and laugh at it 15 years from now,” Bryant said. “That would be a pretty good situation for myself. But like I said, it’s all in the past. I did what I needed to do.

“I took what happened to me and I went down there and played as hard as I can. And that’s all I can really do. I had fun with it. I’m embracing every moment that I get in this game, because I know that I’m not going to be playing this game forever.”

[MORE CUBS: Cubs see Addison Russell as the next big prospect on the verge]

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein insisted there’s no bad blood between the two sides, recognizing Boras is just doing his job and seeing Bryant as a franchise player.

“There is no service-time issue,” Epstein said. “He’s here to play baseball. The major-league team had a need. He’s a really good player. He’s ready to go.

“He’s ready to be a Cub for a long time.”

Epstein won’t get into the financial implications, but he said injuries factored into the timing of Bryant’s promotion. Third baseman Mike Olt saw a specialist on Thursday and an MRI revealed a hairline fracture in his right wrist. Infielder Tommy La Stella (rib cage) had already been put on the disabled list.

“No, we wouldn’t have done it today (otherwise),” Epstein said. “You script things out for a player’s development, try to figure out exactly what the last steps are in his development, when the exact right time is to debut.

“We like to do it on the road for prominent players who are going to get a lot of attention and have enough to deal with. So we would have done it a little bit later. But you can’t script everything out in baseball.

“It’s a great day and we hope the start of something special.”

[SHOP: Get your Kris Bryant jersey right here]

Bryant’s father, Mike, couldn’t miss the frustration after his son hit nine homers in 40 Cactus League at-bats – after being the industry’s consensus minor league player of the year in 2014.

“He was disappointed,” said Mike, who once played in the Boston Red Sox farm system. “I didn’t talk to him for three days after that, (but) he handled it. It’s not that he was expecting it. He blocked out that part of the process right there.

“He was not focused on any business part of the game. You remove that from the equation as a baseball player. You cannot think about it. Otherwise, it’s just a distraction.”

Boras Corp. will probably get four bites at arbitration and should be drooling at the idea of Bryant hitting the open market. But almost seven years is an eternity in this game, more than enough time for the Cubs, Bryant and Boras to get what they want.

As Bryant said, he wants a bulldog working for him, not a poodle. This won’t be the last time the Cubs will be sparring with Boras.

“I’m glad he’s on my side,” Bryant said.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs convention will feel different this year

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs convention will feel different this year

Jeff Nelson, Tim Stebbins, and Tony Andracki fill in for host David Kaplan as they discuss how different this year's Cubs convention will be compared to previous years and how awkward it will be for Kris Bryant and other players who could be traded before the season. They also get into baseball's cheating issue, and Tony Andracki makes a huge announcement.

(1:08) - Different feel at Cubs Con

(3:10) - Cubs putting Kris Bryant in an awkward spot

(4:44) - Anthony Rizzo says he might not be a Cub long term

(6:33) - How will Cubs fans show displeasure at Cubs Con

(10:24) - What will it take for Sammy Sosa to be accepted by the Cubs

(13:54) - Baseball's cheating scandal is spreading

(20:07) - Tony Andracki's BIG announcement

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Subscribe: Apple/iPhone | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Art 19

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Cubs grant Astros permission to interview Will Venable for managerial opening

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USA TODAY

Cubs grant Astros permission to interview Will Venable for managerial opening

In the wake of their infamous sign-stealing scandal, the Astros could look to the North Side to fill their suddenly vacant managerial seat.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs have granted the Astros permission to interview Will Venable for manager.

MLB conducted a thorough investigation into a report from The Athletic stating the Astros electronically stole signs during their 2017 championship season. The findings resulted in general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch receiving year-long suspensions Monday before the Astros subsequently fired both from their respective posts.

RELATED: David Ross and Anthony Rizzo react to Astros cheating scandal, subsequent fallout

Venable joined the Cubs in September 2017 as a special assistant in the front office. He joined the on-field staff as first base coach in 2018, a position he held through last season. The 37-year-old also spent time as third base coach when Brian Butterfield dealt with health issues in 2019.

The Cubs named Venable third base coach this offseason following Butterfield’s departure to Joe Maddon’s Angels. Prior to that, Venable interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial opening — which went to David Ross — as well as the Giants’ opening, which went to former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

The Astros have already reportedly interviewed Buck Showalter for manager and are set to meet with John Gibbons, too.

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