Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has talked with Kris Bryant since the third baseman’s comments on a podcast last month caused a stir on social media.
“It was a great conversation, great tone,” Hoyer said on a Zoom conference call with reporters Monday. “I felt like he was in a really good place.”
The question of Bryant’s happiness came up Monday because of a frank response he gave on Red Line Radio a few weeks ago. Asked if he was still having fun, considering the chatter that surrounded him and the Cubs this offseason, Bryant said, “At times, no.”
“I don't think he was saying he didn't love baseball,” Hoyer said. “I think it was just an honest comment. He was in a great place when I talked to him, and seems like he's excited to get going, get the season started. So, not a concern here at all.”
Hoyer didn’t divulge any further details of the conversation he had with Bryant this past week. But Bryant isn’t alone in navigating trade rumors this year. Catcher Willson Contreras’ name has been thrown around all hot stove season. The Cubs avoid labeling any player as “untouchable.”
When players reach out to Hoyer about trade rumors, what’s his approach?
“I try to be really honest,” he said.
When asked if he’d given assurances to Bryant or Contreras with Spring Training approaching, Hoyer said giving “complete assurance” that they’d remain on the roster is “probably impossible at any given time, given the fact that a phone call can always come in.”
Hoyer has, however, had conversations with players and their agents on the subject. As good as some players are at blocking out the chatter, Hoyer’s found that once friends and family start asking a player about rumors, that’s when he usually checks in with the front office. Hoyer will clarify how much of what the payer is hearing is true.
“When you read trade rumors or Twitter and you react to every single thing, I think that's incredibly difficult emotionally,” Hoyer said. “I really do feel for players having to go through that.”