The Chicago Cubs are not only committed to Kris Bryant moving forward, they consider him their best player and want to get him the most at-bats as possible by using him in the leadoff spot this season.
The unity is a far cry from the tumultuous offseason that included Bryant's grievance over the Cubs' move to delay his major league debut in 2015, thereby moving his free agency clock back one year. There were also rumors the team would be willing to trade the 2016 National League MVP.
With spring training already started in Mesa, Ariz., there seems to be nothing but love between the Cubs and Bryant now, along with a brand-new role.
"When you talk about putting the best players in baseball at the top of the order, that's our best player and I want to put him at the top," new Cubs manager David Ross said Wednesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "He's on board. I'm on board. It's something I've been thinking about long and hard, and I'm excited about it. ... I'm super excited about it."
Bryant has played in more than 700 games and started 696 of them, but he has only been the Cubs' leadoff hitter in seven games. He has a .387 on-base percentage in the role, with a .321 batting average in 28 at-bats.
"I said, 'I'm here to do whatever you want," Bryant said. "If you need me to be that guy for you, I'm your guy. I think I have the right mindset because I've always been the type to say, 'Give me that fifth at-bat because I want it.'"
Bryant has a career .385 on-base percentage with a .284 batting average. He also has 138 career home runs with 403 RBIs and has a majority of his at-bats (1,326) in the No. 2 spot. He also has 991 at-bats in the No. 3 spot.
--Field Level Media