Let’s get one thing straight about Kris Bryant leading off and moving off third base to play in the outfield more this year: It doesn’t suddenly mean he won’t be traded at the July 31 trade deadline if the Cubs don’t get off to a strong enough start — although Bryant did say Thursday that manager David Ross “seems to think I’m going to be here.”
And contrary to some theories being floated publicly, it’s not likely to lower his value as a free agent or prospective extension candidate.
That might sound like two things to get straight. But they might as well be one, because the former MVP could be about to go old-school gas pump on his free agent asking price — ding, ding, ding, ding — if this leadoff thing works the way the team envisions.
Consider that 17 players in the majors had .380-plus on-base percentages with .500-plus slugging percentages last year, and only five have career marks at that combined level, including Bryant.
Of the five, two (the Mets’ Jeff McNeil and the Nationals’ Juan Soto) have two years or less in the majors and one (Houston’s Alex Bregman) is a cheater. That leaves the Angels’ Mike Trout and Bryant.
“How many of those  players have the capability of playing two or more major-league positions?” said Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, when asked about what direction the three-time All-Star’s value might change with his changing role.
“This is the man who is on the island,” Boras added. “In our office, that’s how we refer to Kris Bryant. He’s the ‘Island Boy.’ He can be the leadoff hitter, and he can be a 3 or 4 hitter. And he can play five positions. He is the ‘Island Boy.’ ”
It probably goes without saying that Boras looks through the Bryant changing-role lens with a certain business-related bias.