CARLSBAD, Calif. — So much for the “major league manifold.”
In the five months since Kris Bryant helped the Cubs’ first-half surge into contention with an All-Star first half, he’s been traded to the Giants, reached the playoffs for the sixth time in his seven-year career, become a free agent and this week earned a cooler, more distinguished nickname — and maybe even sales pitch — from the man who will make that pitch to multiple teams over the next few months.
“He’s kind of the Sean Connery of major league baseball,” agent Scott Boras told a large scrum of bemused baseball writers this week at baseball’s general managers meetings.
At which point one Chicago wag seemed to take that as an age reference with Bryant’s free agency having been delayed a year by the Cubs manipulating his service time.
“He’s not that old,” protested the wag.
“The image,” Boras said. “You have to [think] Hollywood about this.”
“He has positional versatility that makes him ‘Untouchable,’" Boras said. “He has ‘Bond’-like abilities to create a great middle of the lineup. He’s always ‘Red’-hot in the ‘Hunt for October.’ He’s an ‘Extraordinary Gentleman’ in a ‘League’ of his own.
“Bryant has many roles, and they’re all his.”
Whether he lands with early favorite Seattle or somewhere else, Bryant’s free agency fortunes this winter might be as intriguing for Cubs fans as those of any free agent who might actually be headed to Chicago.
The Cubs’ best homegrown player since Greg Maddux also is the most decorated for the first seven years of a career, with four All-Star selections, three division titles, an MVP award, Rookie of the Year award and the 2016 World Series title.
Come to think of it, this Sean Connery thing fits a lot better than the “manifold” metaphor Boras workshopped in a conversation with NBC Sports Chicago this summer — Connery’s recent demise notwithstanding.
After all, Bryant would “Never say Never” to a team willing to make him a strong offer, though some might fear “Entrapment” depending on the “Rising Sum” of his market. And many believe Bryant has a “Goldfinger” he’d like to give the Cubs over that service-time manipulation.
Just one piece of advice, though, for anyone who might call Boras about Bryant:
Don’t bring a simile to the metaphor fight.