CHICAGO – It was all about who was going to come to the team around the end of July for his entire time with the Cubs. Being playoff competitive made that the case since he made his major league debut in 2015.
So the situation that Kris Bryant finds himself in as the end of this month approaches is something quite new. The Cubs have already traded away two of their key contributors – Joc Pederson and Andrew Chafin – with the promise of more to go with the team out of postseason contention.
That, of course, includes himself, as Bryant remains one of the most talked-about names in the trade market as Friday’s deadline approaches.
“Some of the stuff is just exhausting, it really is,” admitted Bryant of the trade chatter on Tuesday night after the Cubs’ loss to the Reds at Wrigley Field. “I’m just trying to do my best to keep my focus where it needs to be and help whoever I can along the way here and just take everything in stride and whatever happens, it’s out of my control.”
But what is in the four-time All-Star and 2016 National League MVP’s control is being able to make sure those rumors don’t get too exhausting, to a point where it begins to hurt his mental health. That’s been a focus in sports lately, especially with gymnast Simone Biles pulling out of a few Olympic events this week to focus on her mental well-being.
When it comes to the last month, where rumors have continued to fly about where the Cubs may trade him, Bryant has a simple mantra.
“A lot of it is noise until it actually happens,” said the third baseman. “That’s the most important thing to kinda focus on because some of those times it’s just noise.”
Bryant also revealed some simple ways in which he’s tried to stay positive during this stretch where the possibility of a trade out of Chicago continues to loom.
“It’s important to surround yourself with people who help you along the way. Pick up the guitar or play some video games, take your mind off it. That’s kinda what I’d do,” said Bryant. “Chase the little guy around the house, have some chocolate cake, some ice cream, that helps. Go to sleep, get nine hours of sleep and wake up, and have a positive attitude for the next day.”
That’s working so far for him, since he’s rebounded from a bad June to play well during the month of July. After hitting just .114 last month, Bryant has a slash line of .305/.414/.542 with three homers and ten RBI. As he approaches what could be his final games in Chicago, he continues to brush off the rumors of where he might be playing next week.
“That’s just what you’ve gotta do. I mean, you can’t just sit there and sulk or whatever it may be. Like, you can’t just think about it non-stop, then you go crazy and it takes away from what you do on the field,” said Bryant. “It’s just taking whatever in stride and just saying ‘I can’t control any of this.’ There’s no need to stress about it or worry about it or all those bad things that come with anxiety or worry.”
Which he’s found a way to combat, even if the chatter is a bit exhausting.