Chicago Cubs: Taking Kris Bryant’s side in the grievance hearing
With the Kris Bryant grievance hearing weighing heavily on the outcome of the 2019 offseason, I take a look at why the Cubs star should win this battle.
Back in 2015, Kris Bryant was one of the most highly anticipated call-ups in all of baseball. The number two pick in the 2013 draft batted .435 with an OPS of 1.304 in spring training but was one of the final cuts before the regular season began.
MLB and MLBPA had an agreement in place that would allow the Cubs an extra year of team control if they were to hold Bryant in the minors for 12 days. The team did what seemed to be the sensible thing based on the agreement. However, here we are in the midst of the one the biggest offseasons in recent memory with this coming full circle.
The rule states that a player earns one year of service time when they spend 172 days with the team during the season. After three seasons, they are eligible for salary arbitration and after six, they can elect free agency. Because the Cubs waited to bring Bryant up, they earned an extra year of control, which would come in 2021.
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The Cubs’ defense is that they called Bryant up only after an injury to the third baseman at the time, Mike Olt. They claimed Bryant still needed to work on a few parts of his game before he could play at the major league level. They kept things strictly baseball. However, I am not taking the Cubs’ side in this scenario.
Bryant has every right to file for grievance in this situation. What are 12 days in a 183-day long season? It’s nothing unless you are looking at the rule specifically in order to delay someone’s service clock. On the business side of things, it makes sense, but on the side of the player, it’s not right.
The Cubs have every right to do what they can to get an extra year out of their golden boy. However, when you’re in Bryant’s shoes, already locking up a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP, three All-Star appearances, along with a World Series, you don’t want to have to delay getting paid.
Not only that, but with a family on the way in the form of his newly-pregnant wife, having the opportunity to capitalize on what you’ve done in your career at this point to help start your family is important. So important that you have to at least try, right?
The third reason I see Bryant’s side here is that of injury. He has had a few injury scares the past few seasons. Luckily they haven’t been too major, depending on what you consider his shoulder issue in 2018, but enough to inject some worry. Bryant has also said himself he’s a lanky, awkward guy that doesn’t slide well. He’s aware that he’s avoided major injuries to this point and if he has to delay his payday, who’s to say something won’t happen to him, affecting how big of a contract he gets?
I’m on Bryant’s side here, especially considering the third baseman market at this point in time. Seeing Anthony Rendon ink a $245 million deal and hearing Bryant’s name in the same ball-park as the new Los Angeles Angel, having the opportunity to get paid shouldn’t have to wait. Bryant is ready to get paid and I hope no matter what happens in this hearing that the Cubs are the team to pay him, or else we will be hard pressed to find someone as special at the hot corner.