Bryant says he hasn't met with Cubs' brass about contract
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant still has a way to go before he hits free agency, but the Cubs third baseman did observe with interest that the Colorado Rockies signed their own third baseman to a big contract extension.
Nolan Arenado and the Rockies made official Wednesday an eight-year, $260 million deal on the eve of his free-agent season.
The Cubs and Bryant have not sat down this spring to even broach the possibility of an extension. Bryant's agent, Scott Boras, has been busy with free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper, who still has not signed.
"It's usually in spring training, but we haven't gotten to that point yet," Bryant said. "We haven't had any meetings with Theo (team president Epstein) or Jed (GM Hoyer) or any of that yet. Usually there is one during the spring training where you sit down and talk about the season. That's where stuff like that usually gets brought up.
"I've said I would listen to anything they had to say. It would be silly, I'd be dumb, not to hear anything they have to offer. But right now it seems they're not willing to do that because we haven't gotten anybody new, and that's OK too."
In addition to the Rockies throwing big money to keep Arenado, Bryant made note of the Padres signing big free agent Manny Machado.
"Everybody has money," he said. "We're not stupid. We see the prices of tickets, the prices of whatever, memorabilia, TV deals. There's a lot of money in this game."
'Motivated" Hamels looks strong:
Lefty Cole Hamels started Wednesday and worked 2 scoreless innings, giving up 2 hits to his former team, the Texas Rangers. He threw 26 pitches, 16 strikes, with no strikeouts. The Cubs picked up Hamels' $20 million option for this season. Manager Joe Maddon said he felt Hamels was "motivated" this season. Hamels agreed.
"Two seasons I didn't do so well," he said. "I had some injuries. I don't think I started off very well last year. So knowing that I still feel good and I still have a lot left to really show, it's just a matter of making sure I'm at the right place at the time and executing pitches and with what is at stake with this team and this division. You have to stay on guard, and you have to be fired up to be able to play because this is not going to be an easy matter this season.
"You always have to find those challenges and go out there and be the type of guy to answer the call."
Pick up the pace:
Joe Maddon said he liked most of Yu Darvish's start Tuesday but that he'd like to see Darvish pick up the pace on the mound.
Darvish walked four and gave up no hits in 1⅓ innings against the Diamondbacks. He reached 96 mph on his fastball.
"Velocity was good, really good," Maddon said. "Stuff looked really good. Of course the walks bothered him. The biggest thing is just tempo, something that they're trying to get done. He and Tommy (pitching coach Hottovy) are on the same page. Sometimes Yu will get into the moment and you just revert and you get a little bit slower. I'm talking pace between pitches. I'd love to see him speed that up a little bit. He knows that."