At the pre-game press conference today, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein discussed today’s Kris Bryant call-up – making a joke about the other Chris making his Cubs debut today (Denorfia) – and confirmed something we’ve been thinking.
In short, the preference, even for a player like Bryant, was to have a road debut. But with Tommy La Stella and now Mike Olt going down with injuries, and now with Olt going on the disabled list with a hairline fracture in his wrist, Bryant’s presence was necessary. If Olt had been healthy, Bryant wouldn’t be up quite yet.
The timing, of course, is almost incredibly coincidental, given that today is the very first day Bryant could be called up with the Cubs still securing the extra year of control. But the official line from the Cubs about this day will always be that it was the combination of injuries, and the knowledge that Bryant was just about ready, that forced the call-up a little earlier than previously expected. Given that the Cubs actually used Olt in games after his injury – initially believing it wasn’t that bad – I really do think that this is a coincidence, and we would have otherwise seen Bryant first called up next week when the Cubs headed out on the road.