Count Kris Bryant among those who wonder whether the Chicago Cubs‘ front office is aiming to win or save money this season. Bryan arrived at the team’s Spring Training complex earlier this week and gave his first thoughts on the offseason on Saturday. During his appearance, he talked to NBCSports, among others, and gave an answer to one particular question that had members of the media taking note.
Bryant was asked whether or not he believed the Cubs were really spending the winter trying to win. The team’s third baseman’s response was less of an emphatic yes and more the kind you might expect from someone who was as confused as some of the team’s fans. Directly after the question was asked, there was a long pause followed by “umm,” and then, “they didn’t do much.”
Bryant went on to explain the Cubs didn’t add many players in order to improve the team. He also pointed to comments team President Theo Epstein made over the winter talking about how he saw the issues the franchise was going to have when it came to the luxury tax. It didn’t appear Bryant was a big fan of those comments.
Eventually, the Chicago Cubs star pivoted back to mostly positive comments about his team and more importantly, his teammates. “I like the group that we have,” he continued, “I think we have a ton of talent, a lot of really good players.” He added that he thinks they underperformed as a team.
The third baseman added it would have been nice if the Cubs had picked up a few more players, but he wasn’t sure what players those would be. In the end, he went back to saying he liked what Chicago was going to be putting on the field, but the beginning of the answer was one that stood out to the assembled media.
While Bryant has said publicly he doesn’t harbor any ill will against Epstein and the rest of the front office, he could be excused if he did. The 2016 MVP went through a grievance hearing against the Cubs stemming from when they called him up to the Major Leagues, thereby adding a year of control on his contract.
There was also the nearly unending rumors the team was trying to trade their star player. While those rumors have died down now that Spring Training has started, there is still some talk a deal could materialize that would still have Kris Bryant leaving the Chicago Cubs before the regular season starts.