Bryant named Cubs' MLBPA player rep

After learning business side of game as assistant, 26-year-old takes lead role

March 8th, 2018

MESA, Ariz. -- feels good this spring. He's getting to know his new teammates, enjoying drills with new infield coach Brian Butterfield and learning about the business side of the game.

The third baseman is the Cubs' player representative this season after serving as the assistant to last year. The player rep serves on the Major League Baseball Players Association executive board and is responsible for meeting regularly with the players on his team. It's Bryant's job to represent his teammates in the resolution of any problems at the club level.

"Watching some of the events of the offseason, I feel I owe it to myself, because a lot of this will affect me and people my age, and I want to have all the information I can for down the road," Bryant said. "I learned a lot this offseason and hope to learn more."

He has gone to MLBPA meetings in Arizona, and it's been an education.

"There's everything you do on the field, but there's a whole [other] side to this game, and it's the business side, and it affects us and affects how people play on the field," Bryant said. "If I can find a way to learn more about that and enjoy that part of it, too, it will be free and easy on the field."

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This will be Bryant's fourth year in the Majors, and he won't be a free agent until after the 2021 season. Still, he wants to be prepared.

"It'd be good to take more of a proactive approach as a player and voice our opinions more, so they're heard," he said. "There are a lot of people who voice their opinions. If we can get more players to participate, it will make it better for ourselves and the players who come after us. That's my whole purpose behind wanting to take it. It's more of an active approach."

Bryant admitted he was more of an observer in his first two seasons.

"It's more, 'What do I do?' and you don't want to step on anybody's toes," he said of his early years. "You want to learn the game and everything that comes along with it. As you get older, you see older players take more of a leadership role. That's what I want to do is learn more about the game and how it affects us."

It's hard to think of Bryant, 26, as an "older player." He's done a lot in his young career, including winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2015, then the Most Valuable Player Award the next year. He wants to represent the young Cubs core that includes players like , and .

"I think the earlier I can start learning about it, it will set me up better later on, so I can speak on things and be more educated," Bryant said. "I won't have to say, 'I don't know,' to some questions."