Kris Bryant disappointed with demotion, but it's just business as usual.

Life teaches you some hard lessons when you're young.   I understand where Kris Bryant is coming from.  You work hard and perform and you're supposed to get rewarded.  Sure it happens, but in the real world things aren't that cut and dried.  Like it or not, timing matters.  Money matters.   The self-interest of both individuals and organizations matter.

Nobody understands this better than Bryant's own agent, Scott Boras.  When it came to starting Bryant's minor league career, Boras was in no rush.  He wanted the biggest possible bonus so he waited until the end of the signing period.  He did it because he knew he could then get every penny left once everyone else signed.  Boras acted in his and his clients best financial interests.  He didn't have concern for the Cubs or any of the other players who might get squeezed out of a potential shot at starting their MLB career.  He didn't care that he would delay the start of Bryant's professional career.

It was business then and it is business now.

That doesn't mean Bryant has to like it. I expect that when free agency rolls around in 7 years, Boras willt act in his and his client's best interests again.  But don't kid yourselves.  That was going to be the case no matter what the Cubs decided this spring.  When it's Bryant's turn in free agency, Boras will get him the best deal possible whether it is from the Cubs or someone else.  The  only difference now is that the Cubs are guaranteed one extra year of Bryant -- and keeping him back for 12 days was the only way to guarantee that.

Boras did what he had to do then and he'll do it again when his opportunity comes up again.  The Cubs did what they had to do now.  They would have been irresponsible not to use the rules to their advantage when they know Boras used them to his advantage at draft time and will do so again in free agency.

But you know all of this already.

At the same time, nobody should blame Bryant for being disappointed.  If anything, I like that he is a competitor and won't accept a demotion easily.  He believes he is good enough to be on the MLB team -- that's what you want your players to believe.

“I don’t want to say I’m mad or anything,” Bryant said via Carrie Muskat  “I’m extremely disappointed. I wanted to go out there and my performance mattered, and to me, it felt like it didn’t matter as much as I thought it would. I went out there and played as hard as I can and did everything I could. I’m just disappointed.”

Disappointment was inevitable once Bryant started shredding up spring training pitchers and proving he is ready to hit at the MLB level right now.  Yet, no objective observer really believed the Cubs were going to seriously give up the only advantage they will ever have when it comes to contractually controlling Bryant.  His fate for the start of this season was effectively decided the day the union gave in to these service time demands in the most recent CBA.  It was further sealed when he chose Boras as his advisor.

The Cubs said what they had to say -- that Bryant would get every chance to make the team, but to interpret that as that chance being strictly tied to his statistical performance this spring is naive.  There are always other factors when it comes to making a 25 man roster and as good as Bryant's spring was, there are still defensible baseball reasons to send him down.   There are no objective benchmarks that you can point to when it comes to baseball players being definitively ready, and as long as there is some subjectivity involved, there will always be wiggle room when organizations make roster decisions.

Timing matters.  Money matters.  The best long term interests of the organization matter.

Bryant's spring training numbers were never going to change that one way or the other.   Ideals tend to die hard.  The lessons of the real world aren't always easy.

Let's look at the other side of the coin here.  Does anyone believe that if the Cubs do everything right for the next 7 years -- if they give Bryant the opportunity to achieve everything he has ever dreamed of and more, that it will be enough to guarantee he will stay with the Cubs for his entire career?  Can they be assured that if they do everything that is in their power to keep him that that will be enough for Boras to agree to an extension?

The answer is no.  Boras will act in his client's best interests regardless of how and what the Cubs organization does over the next 7 years.

So why should Bryant doing everything in his power this spring to make the team be any different?  The Cubs will do what is in their best long term interests.

We can take solace in that Bryant is using the disappointment not as as a reason to pout.  He is using it as fuel.

“I’ll use this as motivation, fuel a little fire,” Bryant said. “I’ve been told a lot in life that I couldn’t do it, kind of going back to my high school days when people doubted me. It’s OK to doubt me. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping my head straight and working hard. It’s more motivation for me to go out there and prove myself.”

This is bad news for NL pitchers.  The last thing they want is an angry, more highly motivated Kris Bryant.

The good news is that he seems to hold no ill will toward the Cubs.

“When I put on the uniform, and I’m in the Cubs uniform, it’s an honor to play for this team,” he said. “I try to stay in the present moment and not think about the future too much.”

As for that disappointment affecting the Cubs, only time will tell, but I hardly think it will matter.  Seven years is a long time to carry a grudge.  Twelve days of MLB baseball would be a short-sighted, petty reason to snub the Cubs if they are still his best option after 2021.  The Cubs can show it is about the control and not the money simply by offering Bryant what he likely would have gotten as a free agent in his 7th year as part of a long term extension.  If Boras doesn't take it and convinces Bryant to test free agency instead, then at least the Cubs would have secured that extra year.

But if Bryant ultimately tests free agency, it will be business as usual.  Just the way it has been since day one.

It's simply unrealistic to think otherwise.

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  • Kris just experienced some adversity. Adversity looks like it is going to make him stronger mentally. That will be very good for the Cubs in the next 7 years and hopefully longer.

  • In reply to John57:

    He seems to react well to adversity.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Let's play devils advocate...let's say the Cubs get off to a hot start, possible they leave Bryant down until the Super 2 cutoff? Possibly save 30-40 million in arbitration. If they truly believe Bryant will go to free agency, does the "it's just business" thing apply here as well?

  • In reply to Jonathan Gregoire:

    Irrespective of one's take on Bryant not making the 25 man opening roster out of ST, I suspect that baseball reasons will absolutely control the timing of Bryant's call up after the 9 game "lockup". If injuries don't pop up amongst the Team from here AND the Team is performing very well, I don't think your scenario is out of the question particularly if Bryant's learning curve in LF isn't proceeding as hoped and/or his offense sputters for some reason.

  • In addition to his baseball talent he will be a huge draw with his looks. He will draw in quite a few females to be Cub fans. He is a marketing dream.

  • John you miss a very important quote from Jesse Rodgers

    Bryant was asked whether he's upset with the team.

    "I don't want to talk about that right now," he responded. "When I put on a uniform it's an honor to play for this team.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I think that is in there, Kevin.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You missed the first part.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I was thinking about that as well. He's clearly mad about it saying he doesn't want to talk about it, but he is trying to say the right things.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    that is him saying when free agency comes suck it Cubs

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    That may well be his perspective now but seven years is a long time and other experiences here will likely mitigate this IMO. Had they brought Bryant up leaving him w/ a "warm fuzzy", I don't for a minute think that would have given the Cubs a meaningful leg up to sign him to a FA contract in 6 years. Money will talk, it's just a matter of when.

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    Agreed on everything. But I must add that I very much doubt that Bryant feels any different than every other rookie that didn't get added to the big club 40 man roster this spring. Have a seat rook, you'll get your chance.

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    But he without a doubt earned a spot.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Part of earning a spot comes with having an agent that doesn't act like Scot Boras when in this type of situation, and has met all of the time requirements of the CBS which was agreed to by the MLBPA. As John stated, stats are only part of the equation. The Cubs could not give up the only leverage that they had on that young man; there just wasn't any other realistic way for this to go down. In three weeks, we will be laughing about this.

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    Actually it is stated in the CBA that service time 8s not a valid reason to keep a player off the MLB 25man roster.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I'm curious, is there any wording stating that it can't be used to keep a guy off the 40 man roster?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    The fact that he isn't on the 40 man and we are trying to trade Castillo is another reason to keep him down. We would have to lose someone to move him up and if we expect we can trade Castillo promptly (for someone not on 40 man), then holding him down makes (a little) sense as well.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    and if He had Art Tellman or some other agent who is reasonable He would be on the opening day roster , He chose to sleep with the Hamburg red light whore of agents so he can stay in Iowa till Theo gets tired . Sorry no sympathy for Mr Bryant . PS tell Him to go to mic blackout His Millionaire butthurt doesnt sit well with ordinary blue coller folks who slug it out for decades to make what He makes in 1 year. Seriously in 1 month I have as much sistain for a player that took 5 years of Bonds .... i hope Olt cranks , theres a guy to root for

  • In reply to KGallo:

    maybe if he would have signed right away instead of holding out for the extra 100 bucks after the draft for 2 months He would get some sympathy

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    It wasn't about money. Kris knew there was a chance he won't have any really time off until Nov (and he was right) , so he decided to spend time with his girlfriend and Family.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    if that's the case why the 2 month delay in signing for the same amount the Cubs offered in the 1st place? Boras was hoping the cubs wouldn't allot their full pool to the other 9 picks so He could get the remainder.

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Exactly. I agree w everything in all 3 of your posts.

    It's not just Kris or Boras's fault. It's just an ugly trend that is growing in this world, GREED

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    Oh I agree there as well. Nothing unusual about his disappointment. Baez was disappointed last year when he had a great spring.

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    I mean, we all know the reason Bryant isn't on the roster, but service time isn't the only reason guys have been left off rosters in the past. Option years matter too. Matt Szczur has earned a spot on the 25 man roster just as much as Bryant, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that the team could send him down because they don't want to put Sweeney on waivers. Having option years effects who makes a team and who doesn't all the time. Szczur getting sent down could effect his service time enough to delay his FA, just like Bryant. Why isn't there any outcry from the union when that happens to several guys around baseball every spring?

    The only thing that matters in all this is that Bryant is a potential superstar in waiting that effects the top of the pay scale for MLB ballplayers down the road. If he was a borderline MLB player like Szczur, the MLBPA says nothing. This is all strictly a CBA posturing.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    2 words. Scott Boras.

  • I love Kris and his drive and overall attitude, but the whole "I'm just a down home boy from San Diego and, shucks, I had no idea the baseball bit was so much about business." Is that why he went with the toughest agent in the business? He didn't seem too star crossed when he singed a full slot, nearly $7 million dollar deal with the Cubs. And I am sure somewhere along the way the basics of service time came into the conversation. The reason Bryant is still in AAA has as much to to with his own agent not negotiating pre-free agency extensions as it does the Cubs wanting that extra year. You may not like the rules Kris, but come on, don't act like this is all so new and disillusioning to you.

  • In reply to SalukiHawk:

    He knows it's a business. He doesn't have to like it, but he should know why the Cubs are doing what they are doing. Boras would do the same thing if he was in management.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    exactly. so would anyone with sense.

  • In reply to SalukiHawk:

    He was told he had just as much of a shot to make the club as anyone else. Theo and Joe even said as much. Then as the ST went on they started talk about this "I have never started a true rookie Opening Day" stuff. But they very went to him and told him he wasn't going to make the team no matter what. He has played ball all his life the one consistent in baseball if you perform you get rewarded. Well he performed.
    He wasn't looking for anything to be handed to him. He was looking to earn his spot through hard work and he put in the work.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    AND he is from Las Vegas. He went to school is San Diego

  • In reply to KGallo:

    So, what's your point, Gallo? Are you saying the Cubs should have put him in the opening day line up and stupidly given up a year of control? I'm surprised with your comments tonight. EVERYONE knew what the deal was here from the get go. John made that plain from the get go.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Technically, what the Cubs are doing is against the rules. Just because most teams do it, and it is sound business decision to act that way, doesn't make it right. What the Cubs are doing is essentially underreporting tips to the IRS. No way to prove it, and most people do it, but it is still against the law. I have no issue with people believing the Cubs are doing something wrong.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    The only thing that would make the Cubs actions "wrong" would be proof that Theo sent Bryant to AAA to gain service time. There is none. The Cubs are no more "wrong" for looking out for their own interests than Bryant is for looking out for his. If the MLBPA doesn't like it, they have only themselves to blame for agreeing to a contract that encourages behavior they don't like.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I'm sure they say that to everyone and he's not the only one, including some who play the same positions, performed well and have paid their dues in the minors and majors. He'll make the club. Just has to wait a couple more weeks. He is already going to get there faster than any Epstein prospect I can think of. He's not the first prospect to get sent down after a great spring. The Rays did it with Longoria when he was clearly their best 3B and possibly their best player. I don't blame him for being disappointed, but he should have expected there was at least a very good chance this would happen, to me he knew the deal going in. But I like that he has a chip on his shoulder about. I don't want him to accept it so easily. He's a competitor.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You both make good points and Longoria is probably the closest example you're going to find. I think what it comes down to is what kind of person Bryant is. (And I don't mean good person vs. bad person; by every account he is a very good person.)

    I'm sure he doesn't feel like signing an extension tonight but we already knew that.. If he's the kind that doesn't easily forgive being lied to, then this could be very bad for the Cubs. If, on the other hand, he's a bit more businesslike in his dealings, it's something he'll be able to shrug off over the next couple years and the team might be able to work something out. Kevin knows him best and may be able to provide some insight into that.

    This kind of read is part of the job description for baseball executives but, unfortunately, we have limited (and potentially biased) information on how good Theo is at it. Whatever the case, it's done and the decision is made. As Cubs fans, we can hope that this is all smoothed over and he never leaves.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    To be objective and fair, he did not get the reps on defense, the one area there is some concern. The Cubs have every right to still decide what position he will best play on the MLB roster.

  • In reply to SalukiHawk:

    Yeah, we shouldn't have drafted, that smug turd. Who does he think he's fooling? Not us Cubs fans. We don't like to hear from agents trying to get the best prospect in the game, the most money HE SHOULD, considering he can't get more than an 18 year old from Cuba, who he's better then. That Kris Bryant ain't fooling me.
    Sorry for the overt sarcasm.
    Don't let the publicity exceed the pleasure. This kid's going to be a MLB star in a Cub's uniform.
    John, that was an outstanding piece. It's just business, and you explained it very well.

  • In reply to cub since 89′:

    Greg Maddux was a star in a Cubs uniform, and a super star in a Braves uni. That was for a different reason, but it was messed up. It is impossible not to wonder if some of his best days will be in another uniform. Fortunately that is a ways off.

  • I predict Bryant gets traded between the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    People are predicting on the radio that Theo won't be around by then and it will be someone else's problem, speculating only on whether that is by design.

  • In reply to jack:

    I will be surprised if Theo is not around in seven years.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    It was represented that Theo said he had a limited shelf life.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I'll be surprised if I'm around in 7 years. We're all day-to-day.

  • In reply to Bucky:


  • In reply to jack:

    Maybe Boros will retire by then, Theo becomes an agent and signs Bryant as a client who then signs a new 5 year with the Cubs.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Sounds too much like a conflict of interest for the contract to hold up. Aside from that, if Lester didn't sign with Boston because he didn't like how he was treated, what would someone like Bryant do if this standoff lasts 7 years?

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Oh good, the trade talk is already starting.

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:


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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Naw .. This is a business move but they'll give him an extension within 3 yrs of service. 10 year deal the very least.

  • I figure that Bryant (a) picked his agent, and even if he can't get out of that contract (b) has the absolute right to tell the agent how to represent him. In that he hasn't told Boras that he now wants to sign a contract similar to what Rizzo and Soler have (I'm sure there are technicalities, but...), that's the way it goes.

    Rick Hahn, when asked about the CBA, said "that involves people in higher pay grades than I," so I suppose that if the union doesn't like it, they negotiate the issue in 2016, which is the real remedy.

    BTW, I found the opinion denying the rooftops' request for a preliminary injunction (Tribune source) brilliant, but maybe jorel is waiting for something else.*

    The only thing I can't figure out are contracts like Garza's and Viceado's, which apparently mean nothing but a token payment. It looks like some Cubs prospects (Rozner mentioned the effect of Baez being sent down) might be free agents much earlier than they thought.

    *Apparently he is one of them cited in the opinion as believing that there was no market alternative to sitting in the rooftops to get live sports entertainment.

  • I'd like to see Bryant's numbers after Boras' made his comments. I could be wrong but I FEEL like Kris didn't do as well once Boras made a big stink about the whole thing, with increased KO's and less HR's (per AB). I am NOT stating this as fact but instead asking bc that is how I feel.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I think is Avg and OBP went up after Boras was talking.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Best I can tell, he went 7 for 17, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1 2B, 1 BB, 7 K in 5 games after it came out. Assuming the B games aren't accounted for. And also assuming that it was sometime between the 16th and 18th (Everyone had the story on the 18th).

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    And in the 5 previous games he went 8-16, 5 HR, 7 RBI, 2 2B, 1 BB, 4 K

  • Thanks, John, for so clearly stating the reality of the matter. You say that we know all of this already. Maybe those of us who read this blog do, but given all the screaming in the media, it sounds like there are a lot of people who don't. I appreciate you being the voice of reason in the middle of all the cacophony.

    And, since this is my first post since your move, I'm glad you had a good trip and safe arrival in Arizona. I hope it doesn't take long for you to get settled in.

  • I am glad Bryant is disappointed and he should be. It is hard for a young kid to understand when you are obviously the best player at the position you play. Nobody came close to having the spring kris had that plays 3b/LF. I think most of us would be disappointed.
    On the flip side of "good business". I get the extra year point but sometimes you sacrafice that for a once in a life time player. It is more important
    To keep those types of players happy then to worry about 7 years from now. Just wish they would reward the kid for what he has done. Can't wait to see him up real soon.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    He was rewarded on his signing after the draft.... He got $6.7 mil in rewards. He will also get rewarded in his arb years. The kid is & will make his money & keep getting rewarded... No need to feel sorry for him & "wish they would reward the kid for what he has done."

    And does anyone think he won't get called up within the first month, let alone 2...?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Not feeling sorry for him. Most of us would like to be rewarded for having the kind of year he had last year and one of the best springs ever. Has nothing to do with money. These guys take pride in their ability and when the have earned a shot to be a big leaguer and are not... Well it is okay for kris to say I am disappointed.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I wouldnt be surprised if Bryant gets $20m in his last 1-2 arb years. Still isnt going to change Boras.

  • My 1st post on Cubs Den, but I have been a daily follower since Lester signed and I found the blog. Your comments on Bryant and Boras put perspective on the issue. It will be a non-story in a month.
    I am a Cubs fan of 60 years. But John's analysis/ musings/ opinions (and the responses of his knowledgeable followers) have deepened my understanding of what's involved in creating a team. I am a more engaged and smarter Cubs fan than ever before and looking forward to the season. Thanks to all or you... I look forward to each days discussion.

  • In reply to Old Man Moe:

    Thanks Moe!

  • John, I agree with this column except for this sentence: "They would have been irresponsible not to use the rules to their advantage."

    Aren't the Cubs actually breaking the rules? I think the CBA states that a team can't keep a player down for service time requirements. We all know that teams routinely disregard this, and they have every incentive to hold back a player to get an extra year of control. So, yes, the Cubs are just doing what any well-run front office would do in their situation. But, strictly speaking, they're not following the rules. Can't blame Bryant at all for being disappointed.

  • In reply to October:

    There are defensible baseball reasons and that is all that really matters. There is the defense, there is the fact that Theo doesn't typically promote players with less than a full season at AAA, there is also a previous pattern of not calling up top prospects on Opening Day. We can say Bryant is special and deserves unique consideration, but what of others? Can we say he is more special than Dustin Pedroia, who has already accomplished so much in the majors but had to wait longer in the minors? There is nothing you can definitively say that he is ready for the majors because it is impossible to pinpoint a specific time when that time comes for any player. Players with great AAA seasons and great springs have failed in the majors. It is largely subjective, which makes it essentially unenforceable... which makes it a terrible rule. But it works in favor of the Cubs, so why not use it?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John. I agree that it's defensible and the best route for the Cubs. But it still leaves me uncomfortable because we all know what's going on. I guess that's why I work at a nonprofit - just not good with these business decisions even when they're necessary!

  • In reply to October:

    Nonprofits still protect their money. Hospitals are supposed to be nonprofits, for instance. Universities are nonprofits, but now are in competition over which has the nicest dorms and recreational centers.

  • In reply to October:

    In that case, then Id guess the Cards broke the CBA with Taveras, the Pirates with Polanco, and the Astros with Springer. Its not the CBA. Scott Boras is whats driving all this baloney. For his own selfish ego.

  • The more Sparkles goes all Superstar on MLB, the more Soler, Rizzo, Russell, Castro, Schwarber, Almora, and (we hope) Baez can sit in the shadows and make history.

  • I love KB, but the whole argument here pisses me off for one simple reason: shouldn't the Cubs get some benefit out of paying the kid nearly 7 MILLION DOLLARS barely a year and a half ago? You know, a team gets and deserves some advantages in exchange for making that kind of financial commitment to an unproven amateur player. Bryant received the 2nd highest amateur draft bonus ever paid in history, only Strasburg got more. A little humility from KB's side (and especially, Boras) would be appreciated.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I agree. I'm surprised and disappointed with Bryant's comments. He, like everyone, knows what's going on here. But for Pete's sake, let's just let this go and look forward to an amazing career. The Bryant Era will begin soon enough. And we will all revel in it for at least 7 years. Let's enjoy it!

    It's Our Turn!

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Agreed, Bryant's comments lately have left a sour taste in my mouth. Watching him interviewed on ESPN on Thursday afternoon, he seemed genuinely pissed, even if he tried to hide it somewhat. Unless he's been living under a rock or is really naive, he had to know the Cubs were going to do this, so why keep whining about it? Just go to Iowa and rake for a couple weeks and you'll be called up soon enough.

  • In reply to Ricardo:

    Bryant obviously knows what's happening on the business side and said what he had to say. He doesn't want to be ostracized by either side.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    KB at least exhibits class. With Boras, you can remove the CL from class. Overblown ego, to put it mildly. Its not enough hes the most prevalent sports agent in baseball, but now he seems to think the rules apply to everyone but him.

  • Very well written, and it acknowledges the various points of view.

    We all wish Bryant the best and look forward to his arrival at the MLB level. Hopefully, this is not a distraction for him. The reality is that he has not played in a MLB game and, regardless of talent and make-up, the transition can be difficult.

    I do question whether or not Boras or MLPA were acting in Bryant's best interest or their own. I know some readers may insert their own punch line here, and I wouldn't blame them, but I believe Boras is an attorney and should be looking out for his client's best interest. Curt Flood was a mature, established player. Boras and MLPA seem to be putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on a fine young man when they know that fine young man will gain nothing from it, and the Cubs are simply following the negotiated rules. I have to chuckle at the grievance and litigation talk when all sides know the Cubs have played by the rules.

  • KB is not even a union member, not on 40 yet. What I'd like to know is wether the MLBPA hast any opinion on who of its actual member should lose its job, since they are now in the business of determining who should be on teams rosters. Are they gonna tell TLS or Olt that they are out of job.

    How about instead of looking clueless and making baseless threats they actually try to come up with a solution in the next CBA. But I doubt it as they'll be too preoccupied selling the rights of amateur players, the very same they are claiming to represent now, with an international draft and more restrictions on the draft.

    The MLBPA's statement looked like it came across from Boras desk.

  • I don't want to give KB that much credit in this situation. I think he made some immature comments during his interview. Just because he gave a generic chip on the shoulder line doesn't mean his reaction to his demotion has been mature.

  • "business is a reality in Major League Baseball, all I want to do is help the cubs win and if that is to focus more on perfecting my game at AAA then I am going to do that to the best of my ability" done. move on and get called up in 12 days

  • Since this whole issue started 5,000 years ago, err rather last September it just feels like forever, we all knew how this was going down. The only differences really were that Bryant played even better than expected this spring and that Boras was even louder than usual. Everything else was more or less scripted from the time Bryant started looking so special last year. My personal opinion was that had the Cubs not sent him down under just about any circumstance it would have amounted to financial malfeasance and Theo doesn't seem like a guy who would make that kind of mistake. Overpaying a FA, sure but mismanage a manageable contract situation? Yeah, I sure never thought so.

    The other thing that has seemed clear to me from the beginning is that Kris Bryant will not be that long term, glory laden Cub every one wants. He made a statement in choosing Boras, whether he wanted to or not, and that was that generational wealth was a goal. This kid bets on himself. I don't see any way he signs with the Cubs in 2021, Theo or no. He'll go for the most money. Part of the service time issue is that now the Cubs may have the option of trading a 28 year old superstar in 2020 and get quite a haul back, rather than a lesser package in the same time frame. You think the Braves might be regretting not leaving Jason Heyward down those 12 days? Think the package they got from St. Louis might have been dwarfed if Heyward had two years left instead of just one when that deal was made?

    Listen this is a great time to be a Cubs fan. The excruciating tear down is over and now we get a less painful, and hopefully very fulfilling rebuilding of the team we love. Jorge Soler looks like a beast and had the kind of spring we all would have been walking around puffy chested about for weeks if we weren't preoccupied with Bryant, Boras ans the MLBPA. Jake Arrieta sure doesn't look like he's regressing to me. Starlin Castro might jus be (gasp) maturing and opening night is two days away. When it comes to Bryant just remember, this too shall pass. Are we there yet?

  • Breaking News: Arodys Vizcaino just got suspended 80 games for using the banned steroid Stanozolol.

    In a completely unrelated story, Tommy LaStella has struck out as often as he has walked (6/6) while hitting .375/.455/.521, showing the ability to play 3B and apparently earning the starting 2B job for the Cubs.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    A guy with the injury problems he had that derailed a promising big league career just as it was starting, if there are any players that you could understand succumbing to the desire to take steroids, it would be that situation. I can feel for him, but still, glad he was caught.

    That trade looking better and better. A fringe, starting caliber hitter with 5 years of cost control (especially a left handed hitting 2B) for a relief pitcher (especially one with a long injury history) is a trade I make without hesitation any day of the week.

  • I have stayed out if this in the beginning, because of my personal relationship with his family. But The attacks on him taking Boras are childish. If you were in his position you would want the best represent your interest too.
    For Kris this isn't about an extra year or money, it's about starting his major league career. Everyone likes to sight he didn't sign right away. But the he wanted to take some time with his Family and girlfriend knowing he wouldn't have time off until November.
    Kris was told going into ST that he had just has much chance to make the the Big Club has anyone else. So he came in to prove he was major league ready. He took Theo at face value. Kris did nothing but work hard and performer at a major league level.
    Kris is not the type of person that thinks he should be handed anything. He has worked his but off to get to where he is. Bryant has been picked apart at every level. He has just pushed through that criticism, but just has is just about to reach his childhood dream he was told he had wait. The reason he was given was it was policy.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Well said Kevin. I've been very surprised by the amount of grief this kid is getting. Just about every other top prospect ever sent down has said the same thing "disappointed, chip on my shoulder". But now that Bryant said it he's a villain. I am willing to bet he didn't seek out ESPN and that he is just answering the questions they asked.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Oh lord... He's going to be on the team in about 3 weeks barring anything unforeseen... He's going to reach his childhood dream. He knows it, Boras knows it, all of MLB knows it & so does any fan of MLB with a hint of a clue. It's not a demotion. He was never on the 40 man to begin with. And again, he'll be here in 3 weeks or so.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Man, I couldn't agree more. I am so sick of this discussion. If my employer told me I was getting my dream promotion and the only catch was that I needed to wait three weeks, I would be doing cartwheels. I wouldn't be contacting my lawyer or submitting a grievance with the company. This subject seems really overblown to me...

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Or because of legislation it may be in there best interest to keep him down longer. Then it very well could start effecting the wins/losses.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Kris should take this as the compliment that it is.
    They want him around for that extra year.
    A couple weeks from now it will all just be a memory and he will be in the majors.

  • In reply to cb56:

    And six years from now, when he is playing for a guaranteed 25M on a one year contract, as opposed to signing a guaranteed 10 year 400M contract on the open market he should he still take it as a compliment?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    "because of my personal relationship with his family."

    I respect you position on this Mr Gallo as well as your honesty. From my "detached" 3rd party point-of-view (humble opinion), I find it very difficult to summon much sympathy for Kris Bryant and especially for Mr Scott Boras.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    You can summon sympathy for Tom Ricketts though?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Classic non sequitur

  • In reply to mjvz:

    This is not a sympathize with Bryant or Ricketts absolute choice! How about just a fan thinking about his final days Ina Cubs uniform before it starts.

    To that end money seems critical here and while Ricketts and family are wealthy, make no mistake teams like the Yankees and Dodgers will always have more, no matter the ends Ricketts goes to keep one player.
    If the desire is to get to FA, and everything signals that is the goal of BOTH Boras and KB, and if KB is everything we dream. Mark it down now the Cubs are monster underdogs to keeping his services.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    It was a joke

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Kevin, I understand where you are coming from but it is all perspective here. You and your perspective make sense here.

    But many Cubs fans have a dream of this great HOF player playing for the TEAM they love. All this has only spotlighted the very real possibility that we only get a slice of that and have to share that with some other high bidding franchise. While that always was a distinct possibility, it is now front and center.

    KB has every right to be disappointed, but Cubs fans have the same right. Having to accept a high probability we don't get to enjoy him for his career, before it starts is bitter sweet.

    But the only part I do think you are unfair to the Cubs on is playing hardball. Boras, representing KB wishes played hardball in his negotiations with the Cubs. To now seem like playing hardball when the Cubs have the leverage is disingenuous, by definition.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Good to see you defending Kris. A lot of people on this blog like to focus on the "poor, complaining millionaire ballplayer" while seeming to overlook the "kool aid serving billionaire owner and his minions." I don't know if that means that most commenters on here are conservative Republican business owners (which I doubt), or if they just don't stop to think that this is really a play by Ricketts to hang on to his money. By all appearances the Cubs have the resources to compete with the big boys for free agents, i.e., Jon Lester. So when Kris Bryant's turn comes up, Ricketts should be able to re-sign him.

    There was a good piece in Vice Sports on this issue from the point of view of a labor lawyer that you can read here:

    The writer covers the legal issues, but he also focuses on the ethical issues, which really resonated with me. Kris Bryant's place of employment for the next two weeks is not going to change my life one way or the other. What dismayed me is hearing people say that this was just good business. I don't think that his is the way that business should be conducted. The writer says it better than I ever could. Check out the article.

  • Whether Boras was playing chicken with the Cubs by holding out until the very end, or Kris chose to take a vacation, he elected to skip about 150 professional PA's. That is far more than his likely purgatory in Iowa this month. A true full season in AAA might have forced the Cubs hand, perhaps even earned him a September call-up last year. Certainly would have made the "he's not ready, it is a baseball decision not a business decision" a lot less plausible. Hindsight is 20/20 but if that vacation turned out to cost him $20MM it isn't Theo's fault-- that is a decision he made under the advice of his trusted and esteemed adviser, Mr. Boras, who certainly knew the CBA rules inside and out.

  • People realize that if Bryant puts up the numbers we expect him to that's he's going to break records in arbitration right? He won't be making the major league minimum for an extra year. Theo didn't steal money from him. He's just delaying Free agency

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    Delaying FA for a year is stealing a year of open market pricing for his career. Arbitration numbers are always lower than market price for the top players. It is absolutely going to cost Bryant money long term (assuming Bryant becomes a star).

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I will grant you that he will probably make slightly less in that 7th year. However I don't think it will be the 20mil I've seen tossed around.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    This is true mjvz, but in the fourth year of arbitration stars do make big money. If he is the star we think I would not be surprised if he makes $25 mil his last year. It will cost him some money but he will get paid if he is a star.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    It does open him up to one more year of having to stay healthy before cashing in though. Arbitration is just a one year guarantee. A ten year FA contract is all guaranteed.

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    for one year. Beleive me, Kris Bryants FA contract will likely dwarf Stantons and Kershaws. And he will make a ton in his arb years.

  • The present dustup will be over soon, but Kris Bryant still has decisions to make. There's more to a career - much more - than how much money is made. Will history treat Bryant as a beloved fixture in the memory of Cubs fans? Or, will he sell himself to the highest bidder each time a contract ends, moving from one city to the next one willing to buy his services? Will he be an icon in Chicago or a star athlete who belongs to nobody? Will the relationships forged with coaches and teammates wither away as he moves on to the next gig? Will his kids have memories of a childhood home, or a traveling circus? Will his plaque in the HOF be without a logo on the hat? Those are things Bryant needs to be thinking about as his agent runs around flapping his tired gums.

    Those who think Scott Boras is "doing his best for his client" are looking only at the dollar signs. There's no doubt that Bryant is rich in terms of coin, and he will be richer. How rich his life will be is another matter.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You can be well paid and well liked.

    And why should we assume Kris Bryant is going to like Chicago, or the coaches, or his teammates? He is from Las Vegas, maybe he hates cold weather and would prefer to play in a place like Phoenix. I'm sure there are guys that Joe Maddon, Dave Martinez, or Manny Ramirez have rubbed the wrong way in the past. What if the team brings in a guy like Sammy Sosa that spoils the clubhouse?

    Even if things start out well, six years from now the situation with the Cubs could be completely different. Maye the Cubs have already won a WS and Theo/Jed/Maddon decide to retire or move on and a different regime comes in. Maybe Ricketts is made an offer he can't refuse and sells the team. Maybe the Wrigley renovations continue to get bogged down in stupid city politics and drag on endlessly. Maybe Kris Bryant has kids and don't want them to grow up in a crime ridden, gigantic city. Maybe Kris Bryant decides money isn't the most important thing in six years and decides to sign with the SD Padres because he enjoyed his time in that city, or maybe Vegas gets a team by then. Maybe Scott Boras is retired in six years.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    All true. We also can't forget that one of the reasons Ernie Banks stayed long enough to become "Mr. Cub" was because the system was so slanted in the owner's favor that he had no choice.

    And you're right that sometimes the reason a player chooses to leave isn't about money.

    Still, when you're a kid, your baseball heroes aren't supposed to leave.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Good comment.

  • It's funny how people are talking about Bryant walking in 7 years already. Can you imagine if the internet would have been around when Maddux walked? Would he be celebrated today still or vilified? One thing is for certain, we would have broken Comcast with all the internet traffic

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    That is a different situation. How does Maddux get vilified when the Cubs told him to move on and didn't offer him a contract?

  • I'd be more worried if he wasn't disappointed to be sent down. I know it rubs folks the wrong way but he just answered the question truthfully. He probably just got frustrated of answering the question for the 100th time. You can only be diplomatic for so long.

    I just see all parties working for their own best interest. Borus and Bryant are trying to get what they feel is fair and the Cubs are trying to do the same. The current CBA gives the Cubs leverage now and Bryant leverage in 7 years (assuming he plays up to potential).

    Everyone needs to calm down and let him shore up his "defensive issues" and then he'll be up here ruining the new Jumbotron. Twelve days or so sounds about right.

  • Do you think they ordered a "bullet proof" videoboard to protect it from Soler, Bryant, Baez and company?

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    I just mentioned in the Wrigley renovations article comments section that Bryant was already wondering if the new videoboards will serve as a windblock leading to more home runs. I hope they have a nice insurance policy on that thing because I think it is a matter of "when" and not "if"

  • They'll have an effect when the wind is blowing out, too. We'll see.

  • John and others have made some excellent points re the Bryant situation. I'd like to add one point, because I do think "business as usual" fails to do full justice to Theo's position. My understanding is that Theo has a fiduciary responsibility to do what's in the best interests of his employers--the Cubs. As long as his decisions affect the interests of his employer, that's his ethical obligation. He's honor bound to do that, no matter what Boras or Bryant or the public may say or think about him. Until his employers instruct him to put other considerations above their business interests no one should expect him to do otherwise. Of course there can be some complicated circumstances--business interests can't always be measured in dollars. However, my belief is that the ability this FO has shown to attract free agents is a strong indication that they deal honorably with the players and that the players trust them to watch out for their interests--give them good coaching, safeguard their health, not make deals that lessen their market value, etc. Boras has his own responsibilities and everyone can decide for themselves whether he fulfills them and doesn't allow his own interests to conflict with those of his clients, but I think this needs to be said re Theo--he's acting not only in a businesslike way but also in an ethically correct way.

  • In reply to markw:

    Board has met his match with Theo, and Theo outclassed Boras and the union on this one.

  • For a kid that says all the right things I'm not sure talking about how the decision to keep him down wasn't performance based sure doesn't seem like the right thing. Especially when you are already allowing your agent to spout off to the world about the topic.

  • In reply to mikep527:

    I can't image what it's like to be in my early 20's and have a microphone stuck in my face everywhere I go. I think you're right, Bryant would do well to put a little distance between himself and Boras, but he's undoubtedly getting advice from parents, Boras and others and saying what he thinks is right.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    It would take a lot of pages to document all the stuff people got hounded by the media into saying that they later regretted to one degree or another.

    If we are going to start parsing Bryant's comments and fault him for what we think he means, then this topic of discussion has jumped the shark, should be cancelled, and never put into syndication.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    And you would think his advisers would tell him let us do the dirty work you keep your head down and just keep stating I'm going to keep playing as well as I can and hopefully I can be a contributor this season for the Cubs and avoid the controversy.

  • Yes, we should all feel so bad, he will make 25m in his last year of arbitration, instead of 28+m in Free agency, just stop with this whole, "feeling bad for the kid" stuff... he will have so much money he won't even know what to do with it by then. Hopefully he does a lot of charity work, and also do you really think he is going to be mad about this after 7years bonding with teamates, John Maddon, etc.? just stop it, If he was going to miss 16games, I could understand, but 8 games??? come on, you guys act like Mike Olt is having a terrible spring, and he's the better defender right now...

  • "Seven years is a long time to carry a grudge. Twelve days of MLB baseball would be a short-sighted, petty reason to snub the Cubs if they are still his best option after 2021."

    This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I assign blame to the "give-me, give-me-now" generation (that I guess I'm a part of, being in my early 30s) for the line of thought that suggests this little hiccup in 2015 will somehow poison the well of the relationship between Kris Bryant and the Cubs. He seems too mature for that kind of pettiness even at 23. It should be even less of an issue at 29 or 30.

  • In reply to tallycubsfan:

    agree, come on, we are not talking about grade school kids here... I think they are mature enough to make big boy decisions, and not be like "they sent me down for 8 games, i'm going to leave them as soon as I can, i'm mad at them" lol

  • Odd reading complaints about the maturity of someone this age. He didn't get signed for his ability with public relations.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I don't think you're understanding what people are saying, most are saying he is more mature than people are giving him credit for. Also once you are signed, you are expected to carry yourself a certain way, it's called being professional.

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    In which Kris Bryant has been nothing but great at...

  • I know this has been brought up, but I want to emphasize this point: Kris Bryant showed that he is ready offensively is spring training, but he did NOT show that he was ready defensively in spring training. That is reason enough to send him down so he can continue to work on this. He had limited chances at 3rd base this spring with too many errors. Left field is a new position for Kris Bryant. If management is going to have him stay in left, it makes sense to get more playing time (not in the majors) to work on the new position. Scott Boras and the media made this into a much bigger deal that it really is. If Kris Bryant performs, he will make his money.

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    It was a money decision that Boras made to get Bryant the best contract he could after he was drafted. Just speaking from a business perspective, who wouldn't save millions of dollars for only 12 days of service! If I could save that much and it would only be for maybe 2 weeks at the start of the season I certainly would--and I think that anyone else who owned the team (or business) would do the same.

  • I just think Kris failed to pay attention to the Crash Davis MLB cliche session during his short MiLB career. That in itself is reason enough to be held back for 15 days.

  • Haha!

  • Lol, that was great!

  • Bryant sealed his own fate by hiring Boras, who has shown the only consideration worth is time is maximum dollars. Apparently the new calculus is that, if a player has an awesome spring-failing to promote them is failing to honor the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. 2 problems-Javier Baez is a case study that excellent spring performances don't equate to major league readiness-and Boras has already shown his disdain for the collectively bargained draft with the JD Drew saga-he just wants it both ways. So far Bryant has avoided the Matt Harrington fate, but I would advise his strongly to not stand between Boras and pocket change in the gutter.

  • If Bryant wants to leave in 7 years after winning 3 World Series, he has my blessing.

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    I hope they give him an extension 3 yrs into his career.. He'll easily get mike trout money and years. Boras has always been a talentless scumbag that only cares about getting paid.. I hope Bryant fires him too..

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