Is it possible to be so flushed with wealth that it becomes an issue? Maybe not an “issue”, but it’s something for the Cubs.
New manager. New staff ace. Predictions of winning the division. Top ranked farm system in baseball. Yet the dilemma this Chicago Cubs front office will soon have to face is very real. One that many have their eye on, including the MLB Players Association.
What to do with Kris Bryant?
We’ve hammered last year’s 43 home runs into the ground here at Cubbies Crib. We know what he did last year, so I’ll spare us that. We know that if the Cubs wait a month to call him up, and prevents his arbitration clock from starting, giving them an extra year. But as many may not be aware, you can’t keep a player from the Majors for contractual reasons. It’s a big no-no with the MLBPA.
Now, he’s only played six games this spring, but he’s essentially been a highlight on ESPN every game he’s played. Even Will Ferrell suiting up for the Cubs couldn’t stop him from being the brightest star on the field.
He’s batting a smooth .500 (7-for-14), with four home runs (all legit, no fence scrapers) and six runs knocked in. He has made two errors in the field, and that’s what the organization wanted him to focus on. Improving defensively. So there should be no issues waiting to promote him, right?
The saving grace in this could be the resurgence of Mike Olt. The once heralded prospect of the Texas Rangers got the opportunity last year to win the third base job–and did. Only his contact issues became more prominent, and while he showed off his potential power, he was eventually sent back down to Triple-A Iowa.
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Most thought Olt may have missed his opportunity–at least with the Cubs–with Bryant setting the minor leagues ablaze. But in the words of Lee Corso “NOT so fast my friend.”
Olt has been a completely different hitter this spring, battling in each at-bat. Even with his five strikeouts, he’s also drawn five walks–and has rarely gone down swinging at three straight pitches like last season. He’s hit two home runs, but this spring he’s put the ball in play and good things have happened. At this point he’s winning the third base job, not having it handed to him by “default” till Bryant arrives.
I’ve said from the beginning that not all these prospects will make it. And if they do, they may not all make it with the Cubs. They literally have so many top prospects, there aren’t enough spots on the field to put them.
So if Olt continues to impress, and Bryant does the same–the Cubs could have their future starting third baseman, and somebody else’s future starting third baseman in the dugout at the same time.
Man, the struggle is real.