CHICAGO — On the eve of the Cubs Convention, Anthony Rizzo said the Cubs “100 percent” did not cheat as the scandal continues to evolve around the league.
On Thursday, Mets manager and former Astro Carlos Beltran stepped down before ever managing a game.
He has become the third manager to lose their job as a result of the scandal, following Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Hinch was banned for a year and Cora has yet to receive his punishment, but it's expected to be more severe than Hinch's.
“Something that hopefully gets nixed fast, there’s in-game stuff that’s part of the game,” Rizzo said. “But some of the other stuff seems to take it too far.”
When ESPN’s Jesse Rogers asked Rizzo if it’s safe the say the Cubs have not cheated, Rizzo said "100 percent."
“I think it’s 100 percent safe to say that, that’s for sure on the record,” Rizzo said.
New Cubs manager David Ross said the scandal is “disappointing.”
“It is disappointing and you gotta applaud MLB for doing their due diligence and upholding the integrity of the game,” Ross said. “Super important for our fans, for our players, for our coaches. I’m glad they did their homework and made some of the decisions that they made.”
The 35th annual Cubs Convention comes during a time where there’s still heavy speculation on what the roster will look like at the start of the year.
Most of that revolves around Kris Bryant and his service time grievance. The hearing was months ago but it hasn’t been decided on yet, which has reportedly hampered activity this offseason as the Cubs haven’t spent any money on major league free agents.
Rizzo mentioned that Bryant is “in a good place” as rumors swirl.
“I think he’s in a good place, he knows to it’s a rumor until it happens,” Rizzo said “He was the MVP of the league a couple years ago and a guy who puts up consistent numbers, so we hope he’s on our side, that’s for sure.”
Ross echoed similar sentiments.
“When trade rumors start you always kinda think what might the possibilities be, but in no way does that bother me,” Ross said. “I know KB. I’m gonna love that guy whether he’s a Cub or puts on a different uni. Right now, he’s on my team and I’m excited about it.”
Bryant is among many current and former Cubs that will be in attendance during this weekend’s convention.
With the last big free agent third basemen to sign, Josh Donaldson to the Twins, it only drives Bryant’s trade value up. But teams are waiting on the grievance ruling to know if he’ll have two more years of control or if he will become a free agent after this season.
On Thursday, MLB insider Jon Heyman said Bryant’s grievance decision is expected by the end of the month, possibly next week.
Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on Feb. 12 and full squad workouts begin Feb. 17.
Chicago opens its season in Milwaukee on March 26.