Kris Bryant has continued to express openness to a contract extension with the Cubs, but he reiterated today there’s not yet been any discussion between his representatives and the organization (via Patrick Mooney of the Athletic). The 29-year-old isn’t ruling out the possibility of a long-term deal coming together eventually, even though he’s currently on track to reach free agency after the season. “I’m not looking at it as my last year (as a Cub),” Bryant said (via Mooney). “Who knows what year it could be? I could have 10 more years here. Who knows? I could come back as a coach. I could live in Chicago. I don’t know.” Regardless of what happens after 2021, it’s clear Bryant will open the season with the Cubs after an offseason of trade rumors didn’t result in a deal.
Elsewhere in the game’s central divisions:
- Jake Odorizzi is moving on from the Twins after a three-year run in Minnesota, but the right-hander said during yesterday’s Astros introduction that the Twin Cities “hold a special place” in his heart and left the door open for a return down the road (link via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Phil Miller). “I loved my time in Minnesota,” said Odorizzi, whose two-year deal with the Astros became official this week. “Maybe there’s a time to circle back after this stint [in Houston] is done.” Odorizzi noted that he originally hoped a new deal would come together, but he saw the writing on the wall when the Twins inked fellow free agent J.A. Happ to a one-year, $8MM deal earlier in the winter.
- A few teams have announced their intention to start out with a six-man rotation. That doesn’t seem to be on the table for the Reds, who are going to open the season with a five-man starting staff, manager David Bell said (via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon). Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle are obvious locks, while Bell suggested Wade Miley is likely to get a shot at a rebound season as a starter. That leaves Michael Lorenzen, Tejay Antone, Jeff Hoffman and José De León in a battle for the final job. The pitchers who don’t earn the season-opening rotation spot figure to start off as multi-inning relief options.
- Reliever Anthony Gose is impressing the Indians as a non-roster invitee, writes Zack Meisel of the Athletic. Continuing to throw in the upper-90’s and now incorporating a slider, Gose has struck out four without issuing a walk through his first three Cactus League innings. The former outfielder has attracted the attention of a few teams since moving to the mound in 2017 but has yet to get back to the big leagues as a pitcher. Continued strike-throwing is the key for Gose, who walked an untenable 21.5% of opposing hitters during his most recent minor league action in 2019.