With Opening Night just over a week away, the baseball world has had its eyes glued on Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. His affinity for hitting long, towering home runs has caused an immeasurable amount of baseball fans’ jaws to drop. It takes a whole lot of talent to get people to care about Spring Training statistics, but Bryant has done just that. His imposing physical attributes — he is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds — have made all of his at-bats must-see TV.
As of this writing, he has a gaudy .464/.531/2.031 slash line in 11 Spring Training games — not to mention an MLB-leading nine deep flies. The natural third baseman will also try his hand in the outfield to end Spring Training to add some versatility to an already impressive résumé. It has become apparent that the second-overall pick of the 2013 Draft is not only ready for the big leagues, but also deserves to be with the Chicago Cubs for the Opening Night game and beyond.
Except, he won’t — and he shouldn’t.
Let me preface by admitting the rule holding Bryant back is terribly unfair and the moment the Cubs call him up, I’ll be first in line to buy his shirsey. However, the controversial rule is exactly what Chicago should utilize to their advantage. For those unfamiliar, there are 183 days in a baseball regular season — 162 games and 21 days off. 172 days is considered a full season and counts as a year of control for any given player. For a player to finally reach free agency, they must accrue six full years.
So, basically this is an argument of nine games in 2015 versus 162 in 2021. Sorry, but this seems like a no-brainer to me.
If Kris Bryant is truly baseball’s next great superstar and on the verge of becoming the face of Cubbie blue for the next decade-plus, then why should Theo Epstein and the Cubs organization give up an entire season just for a moment of instant gratification? Sure, the fanfare of having Bryant’s name announced to a nationwide audience as the Cubs and Cardinals take center stage and usher in the 2015 season on Easter Sunday night would be a spectacular story, but it’s simply not worth it. Need I remind you who Bryant’s agent is? None other than Scott *beepin* Boras.
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Baseball’s notorious super-agent, Boras is revered in the MLB world for his cutthroat attitude when it comes to garnering deals for his clients. Often infamously regarded by owners, Boras has been vehemently unapologetic when it comes to his stance about Bryant being sent back to the minors — and shockingly, he does not support it. In an interview with Dan Patrick, Boras discussed his client’s situation with the Cubs saying, “The issue here is that this is not a baseball performance decision,” obviously alluding to the notion of the Cubs reassigning Bryant to Triple-A to gain another year of control on the uber-prospect.
To be clear, nobody is in the wrong here. Boras absolutely should fight for his client to make the team, begin his potentially spectacular career and get the clock moving towards a massive payday for the both of them. However, the Cubs would be extremely shortsighted if they burned up a year of control for less than two weeks of action. Manipulation of a sketchy rule or not, the Cubs are making the smart and savvy business — as well as baseball — decision.
Can we all trust Theo Epstein, please?