The other day, I did a non-scientific bit of “research” regarding when clubs decided to promote their top prospects, or if not top prospects, then eventual impact players. I was mostly just bored but it was still an interesting exercise and showed that the Cubs aren’t the only ones being “prudent” or “cheap” when it comes to delaying the start of service time clocks.
Of course, I probably could have just hit the Googles and found this article by Zachary Levine from mid-April that talked about top prospects and service time. Levine was able to expound on some of the service time issues that I neglected to talk about, including the Royals’ demotion of Alex Gordon at one point to guarantee the seventh year of control before he signed an extension. I also forgot about Jason Heyward, but then again, the Braves kind of decided not to be good this season so I guess I forgot about that entire team altogether.
The price isn’t even two months, but two weeks.
I tried to confirm the exact start of the MLB season calendar but I think it’s pretty much assumed that it starts on Opening Day of either the club’s season or the entire MLB season. The 2015 season begins on April 6, which happens to be the Cubs’ home opener at the hopefully reinvigorated and Jumbotron’d Wrigley Field. I decided to do another quickie exercise to figure out, based on the Cubs’ season calendar, when Kris Bryant would get called up since that seems to have been an issue. For more on service time and transactions, you can check out AZ Phil’s post here or the FanGraphs post. Here we go…
April: 25d May: 31d June: 30d July: 31d Aug: 31d Sept/Oct: 34d Total: 182d Bryant needs less than 172, so he can be up as soon as April 19
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) October 14, 2014
This is based on the 182 day number, dropping 11 games off that to ensure Bryant only gets 171 days on his service record, and adding a couple extra days just to be on the safe side. I’m pretty sure that the service time starts on Opening Day and will last through the final game on October 4, All-Star Break and all off-days included. If we again take a look at the calendar, and we assume that the Cubs aren’t going to cause Bryant tons of jet-lag by making him fly to Wrigley for one or two games in the weekend series against the Padres before heading on a road trip, then the likely first day of Kris Bryant baseball obliteration is on April 20th, the series opener in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. The series after that is against Cincinnati, which is also where Starlin Castro made his memorable debut a few years back.
Those poor Reds. At that point, they’ll have to deal with Kris Bryant for seven non-free agent years instead of six. Pretty sure that’s worth the wait. Plus I feel like Luis Valbuena can hold down the fort until then, and if the Cubs are going to contend that year, they’re going to have to show that they don’t need Bryant to be the savior-du-jour anyway.