The Rundown: Bryant Has to Lead Turnaround, Epstein Coy on Trades, More Notes

Anthony Rizzo’s great and all, but if you’re looking for the guy who needs to pace the Cubs, it’s Kris Bryant. He doesn’t have to be the vocal leader or the emotional barometer of the team, he just has to hammer the crap out of baseballs on the regular.

That’s exactly what Bryant did Friday afternoon, falling a double short of the cycle when the last of his four hits became his second to leave the yard. His home run in the 6th inning was his first since June 22 in Miami (48 plate appearances) and his first at Wrigley since June 8 (100 plate appearances). The gap between that and his next homer was slightly shorter.

It could just be because I really dig Bryant and the quiet confidence with which he goes about his business or it could be the excited relief of seeing him hit that first home homer in a month, but it just feels like his dingers mean something extra. What I was trying to convey in that overly long sentence is that Bryant is the Cubs’ you-go-we-go superstar and he’s the one who needs to drive the turnaround.

As the best player on the team, he’s the one who can best serve as the trail-breaker. To take it a step further, Bryant needs to be that guy for a team that hasn’t been able to really find itself yet. Though they’re only 43-43 with a +13 run differential on the season, the Cubs fare somewhat better when KB hits an HR. I’m talking 10-5 with a +42 run differential (92-50) overall that goes to 9-1 and +48 in the last 10 games in which he’s homered.

In other words, he just needs to go big fly another 50 or so times over the rest of the season to ensure a playoff spot.

Cubs could make all the tradez

There seems to be some confusion out there as to what Theo Epstein has said about the Cubs’ appetite for trades this season. While he admitted that no single trade would net them enough to cure what ails them, that doesn’t mean they’ll avoid the market altogether. In fact, it could even mean that they’ll make several moves.

“We might make a trade, we might make three huge trades, we might make no trades, we might make two small trades,” Epstein told 670 The Score’s Spiegel and Parkins Show. “We don’t know. You have no idea what the marketplace is going to be.”

He’s obviously being a little coy here, but the overarching message is that the Cubs are keeping their options open and will do what they can to improve the team…if it makes sense. Huh, weird, that sounds pretty much like every other year. The biggest difference between this year and last is that there isn’t a single, glaring need that can be addressed easily.

That may actually be better though, as there won’t be that need or desire to overspend on said individual piece.

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