Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kris bryant cubs watchingThis likely buttons up our conversation about the Kris Bryant service time grievance until there’s a hearing or until the thing is settled …

Bryant’s agent Scott Boras held court at the Winter Meetings, as he does, and did comment briefly about the grievance. You can read those comments here and here.

Given how firm, in comparison, his comments about this issue were back in Spring Training, it doesn’t sound like Boras is especially perturbed at the Cubs here. Indeed, the vast majority of his remarks focused on the broader issue of when and how teams should have unfettered discretion to promote or not promote prospects that might otherwise seem ready for the majors to outside observers. Boras suggests the public should know that the best players are making big league teams when they’re ready to be there on the basis of their ability.

As many, including me, have speculated about the grievance, the real issue here seems to be the opportunity for the MLBPA to make a point about service time issues in advance of the next CBA being negotiated.

Sure, this is about Kris Bryant the Cubs and about whether he’ll reach free agency after 2020 or after 2021. But, at its core, this is a much larger issue, and Bryant – together with Maikel Franco, who is also involved in a similar grievance with the Phillies – is just a perfect test case for the union to push.

As I’ve said before: I don’t blame them for taking on the issue, I don’t blame Bryant for participating, I don’t blame Boras for arguing on behalf of players, I don’t blame MLB for pushing back, and I don’t blame the Cubs for promoting and not promoting players as they see fit when considering all circumstances.

There are no bad guys here, necessarily. There’s just a complicated issue that needs sorting out, and, unfortunately for the Cubs (and Bryant), this is going to be a part of that process. It’s also a very tricky issue, because teams necessarily have to take into account a number of things when making promotion decisions beyond solely talent – roster construction, roster limits, breaking young players into the league in a way that sets them up for long-term success, etc.

For their part, the Cubs aren’t going to say too much about the issue, indicating only that they have a great relationship with Bryant, and they feel like they were in the right with how they proceeded earlier this year.

Now, we wait for the process to play out. It’s possible that will take place entirely out of view of the public, and we’ll just have a final agreement or decision dropped on us some day, probably next year.

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