Kris Bryant’s attitude with Cubs at low point: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’

Kris Bryant’s attitude with Cubs at low point: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’

WASHINGTON – Kris Bryant called it the “lowest point” of his charmed career as a Cub after a 9-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field dropped the defending champs to 30-31 on June 10. 

Since then, Kyle Hendricks (right hand tendinitis) experienced a setback that will likely delay his return to the rotation until after the All-Star break. World Series MVP Ben Zobrist (left wrist inflammation) and Gold Glove outfielder Jason Heyward (left hand abrasion) went on the disabled list.

All-Star shortstop Addison Russell had to answer questions about divorce proceedings and a Major League Baseball investigation. Playoff legend Kyle Schwarber got demoted to Triple-A Iowa. Veteran catcher Miguel Montero torched Jake Arrieta in an epic postgame rant and got designated for assignment. The Cubs won nine of their next 17 games.       

Almost forgot: Bryant heard his right ankle pop on Wednesday night at Nationals Park when he awkwardly landed on third base while catching a pop-up. The reigning National League MVP walked through the visiting clubhouse on Thursday afternoon carrying a book recommended by mental skills program coordinator Darnell McDonald: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F---.”

“I don’t know if it’s any different,” said Bryant, who felt “relieved” and “a ton better,” doubting that the sprain would force him onto the disabled list. “It’s still kind of just – you win a game, you lose a game, you win a game. It’s OK, you’re keeping your head above water, but it’s just different than what I’ve experienced.

“There’s going to be times like that. But I just think it’s important that we learn from all the things that we’re going through now, so that it makes us better in the future. I definitely do think that this point – and being as low as we are right now – is still going to make us better.”

Where Anthony Rizzo had been part of Cubs teams that lost 286 games between 2012 and 2014, Bryant helped the franchise win 97 games and two playoff rounds during his Rookie of the Year campaign – and then deliver its first World Series title since the Theodore Roosevelt administration. 

What the Cubs need now are the qualities that separate Bryant beyond just his sweet swing and athleticism – mental toughness, emotional intelligence and the ability to process failure.

This is someone who – as the No. 2 overall pick in the draft – went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in his Class-A Boise debut in the summer of 2013. And whiffed three times and went 0-for-4 when he made it to The Show in April 2015. Bryant joked about Los Angeles Dodgers sensation Cody Bellinger.

“He’s starting off way too hot,” Bryant said. “I didn’t hit a home run for my first 20 games or something. But that stuff does go a long way and help you (when you realize): I’ve been through this before. I’ve hit under .200 for a month. You just fall back on those things. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

The Cubs most recent trade with every MLB team


The Cubs most recent trade with every MLB team

As annual contenders, the Cubs have been active players on the trade market since 2015, upgrading their roster for potential playoff runs. 

We've seen some big trades in recent years (Nick Castellanos, José Quintana), but did you know the Cubs haven't made a move with the Phillies since 2008? Or the Brewers since 2005?

Let's look back on the Cubs most recent deal with every team, then, shall we?

Note: Trades where the Cubs "purchased" a player (per Baseball Reference's definition) aren't included.

Cubs most recent trades with every MLB team

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MLB, MLBPA 'increasingly focused' on plan to start 2020 season in May — in Arizona

MLB, MLBPA 'increasingly focused' on plan to start 2020 season in May — in Arizona

The start of the MLB season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but baseball could return sometime next month.

Late Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Major League Baseball and the Players Association are “increasingly focused” on a plan which could allow the 2020 season to start in May. 

According to Passan, the plan would entail all 30 teams playing games in the Phoenix area without fans. Potential sites include the area’s 10 spring training ballparks, as well as Chase Field — home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Players, coaches and other essential personnel would live in “relative isolation” in local hotels, only traveling to the stadium and back. Per Passan, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are supportive of a plan for MLB’s return that follows social distancing and self-isolation protocols.

The plan depends on if the country sees a significant increase in the number of available coronavirus tests, ones with quick turnaround times. Some officials believe this may make June more realistic for baseball’s return, Passan said.

The plan would necessitate the approval of the players, who would be agreeing to leave their families for upwards of four-and-a-half months. Passan said there’s hope among union and league leadership that players will be convinced to play, citing the paychecks they’d receive, and the distraction baseball could provide the nation.

With the uniqueness of the situation, the league and union have discussed a number of possible significant changes. Passan mentioned several of them:

-Expanded rosters
-An electronic strike zone — assuring umpires and catchers are sufficiently distanced from one another
-No mound visits from coaches or catchers
-Seven-inning doubleheaders, allowing the league to play as close to 162 games as possible
-Micing up players regularly, to benefit TV viewers
-Team members sitting six feet apart in the stands rather than dugouts 

If the players and league agree to a deal, teams would head to Arizona in May — assuming the necessary housing, transportation and security are in place.