(CBS) Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant expected the organization to make some notable offseason additions at positions of need. He just didn't quite expect the haul the Cubs have made in the last two weeks.
With the recent additions of outfielder Jason Heyward, second baseman/utilityman Ben Zobrist and right-hander John Lackey, the Cubs have committed a possible $272 million to their future payroll. Speaking at Soldier Field on Sunday, Bryant was enthused by the additions and admitted surprised as well.
"Just following along this whole winter, it's been a lot of fun with the trades and then the signings, players taking less money to come to us," Bryant said. "I mean, it says a lot about the organization and Joe (Maddon) and the team in general. It's all very exciting. I can't wait for spring training.
"(Heyward) and Ben Zobrist are great because we were a team that struck out a lot and us younger guys are probably going to take some time to adjust to that. But those two guys are contact hitters. They get on base. I can't believe we got both of them. It surprised me, and I think it said a lot about them and what they want to do and the team they want to be a part of. And that's exciting for us."
With the big moves, Bryant knows the Cubs will be held to a championship standard following a 97-win campaign in 2015 in which they advanced to the National League Championship Series.
"Everybody's really excited," Bryant said. "I think a lot of the Cubs fans can tell that the atmosphere's going to be a lot different. It's going to be a lot of fun, and we're going to expect a lot out of ourselves. So like I said, I can't wait for next year."
Bryant admitted he was sad to see the Cubs part ways with infielder Starlin Castro in a trade with the Yankees, a deal made to open up an anchor position for Zobrist and to shed a bit of money.
"I was sad to see him go," Bryant said. "He was a great teammate, one of my favorites. He taught me a lot. He was always happy to be there, smiling on the field.
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