Cubs star Kris Bryant has some strong words for Rob Manfred

Cubs star Kris Bryant isn’t buying Rob Manfred’s apology, and he has another message for the MLB commissioner.

Bryant said if Manfred thinks the player-on-player anger regarding the Astros sign-stealing scandal will fracture the MLBPA when it comes to the next round of labor negotiations, he is sorely mistaken.

“I think they’re looking at it like a good thing, but then the commissioner makes certain remarks that irk some players,” the Cubs’ union rep told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday. “You see players respond to that, and it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, we actually are united when it comes to [management].’ ”

The current collective bargaining agreement doesn’t expire until December 2021, but many observers believe it’s shaping up to be a contentious battle between the two sides.

Bryant also said he doesn’t think many players are accepting Manfred’s apology for calling the World Series trophy a “piece of metal.”

“I don’t think people are accepting it,” Bryant told the web site. “When you say something like that, I just genuinely believe he really meant that. He really meant that it was just a piece of metal. Not to me. I have one in my office back home, and it’s right there, right in the middle of the center of attention.

“This was something that was very important to me and very important to this whole organization, because we hadn’t had one in 108 years. That piece of metal meant a lot to this whole city.”

Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, began his annual tour of the every camp in Florida and Arizona to discuss the issues everything from the Astros’ scandal to free agency to the future of technology in the game. The first team he visited on Wednesday was the Mets.

Michael Conforto, who is the Mets’ player rep, said the union is bracing for a “fight” with the owners and that the players are united.

“These meetings are always about being unified,” Conforto said. “There’s a fight coming in 2021 with the new [collective bargaining agreement], and that is something we need to be focused on. The goal is stay unified. I have no doubt the league will come together. Right now it’s tough with all the things going on. The players union is going to be very, very strong when that time comes.”

— additional reporting by Mike Puma

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