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Chicago Cubs fans sent a message to owner Tom Ricketts on Friday to implore the team keep utility man Kris Bryant.
The Chicago Cubs had postseason aspirations, albeit briefly, at the start of the season. But an 11-game losing streak ended those plans, as the Cubs have no pivoted to selling ahead of the July 30 deadline. The first domino to fall was outfielder Joc Pederson, and the next may very well be utility man Kris Bryant, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
During Friday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a group of 40 fans stood up wearing Kris Bryant jerseys to give him a standing ovation as he stepped to the plate in the first inning. Fan Kevin Thompson told the Chicago Tribune that he bought the jerseys and handed them out to his section to “send a message” to owner Tom Ricketts to keep Bryant.
Cubs fans send message to Tom Ricketts with Kris Bryant jerseys
Quite a way for Thompson to send a message to Ricketts just a week away from the trade deadline.
The Cubs are in a rather unenviable position, as they have Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Javier Baez all set to hit the open market at the end of the season. Given their play throughout their careers, it will not come cheap. And the Cubs appear to have set their targets on who they want to keep and who they want to trade.
According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, while the likes of Bryant and closer Craig Kimbrel are on the trading block, the Cubs will try to negotiate long-term contract extensions with Baez and Rizzo before discussing trades.
For the Cubs, they may not get a haul for Bryant because he hits free agency this winter. Bryant’s versatility is valuable, as he has played all three outfield positions, first base and third base this season. Through 88 games this season, Bryant is slashing .262/.349/.485 while recording 16 home runs, 48 RBI, 54 runs scored and 81 hits.
While this group of Cubs fans might have wanted to show Ricketts how they feel about potentially trading Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP may very well end up on a new team by Friday afternoon.