Kris Bryant has reportedly turned down a “massive extension” that was “well north of $200 million” tabled by the Chicago Cubs. His agent, Scott Boras, has apparently stated interest in going year-by-year in arbitration to maximize his client’s earnings.
Bryant, of course, is famous not only for winning National League MVP in 2016 and helping the Cubs to their first World Series in over a century, but also for filing a grievance with the organization over manipulating his service time. That grievance, which was filed back in December of 2015, is still pending to date.
For those unfamiliar with the Cubs and the Bryant situation, here’s a quick refresher…
Bryant was drafted by the Cubs with the second overall pick in the 2013 draft. He had been drafted by the Blue Jays back in 2010 out of high school, but opted not to sign. Anyways, Bryant became a stud prospect while at the University of San Diego and hit the ground running quickly at the pro level. In his first pro season in 2014, Bryant slashed a .325/.438/.661 line in 138 games between Double- and Triple-A. That’s very Vlad-esque!
At spring training the following year, Bryant shows up and absolutely pounds the shit out of the ball. He puts up an obscene video game slash line of .425/.477/.1.175 with nine bombs but doesn’t break the Cubs’ opening day roster. Instead, Chicago sends him down to Triple-A for seven games worth of seasoning so he can polish his all-around game. Those seven games were enough to net the Cubs one extra year before Bryant could hit free agency. That’s also very Vlad-esque!
Needless to say, Boras was pissed. He went on a 30-minute-long rant in which he questioned the Cubs’ ethics and their desire to win. After that, the grievance was filed and we still don’t have a resolution.
This is clearly relevant to the Blue Jays because we have a very similar situation coming on our hands. Despite making a mockery of minor league baseball all year, Vlad Jr. wasn’t added to the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster for a cup of coffee in September. The organization also kept him down in Double-A New Hampshire for an extended period of time despite the fact he was hitting .400, claiming that he needed to work on his running and his fielding.
Far and away the biggest story for the Jays heading into 2019 will be how they choose to handle Vlad. If he stays down for a few weeks, the Jays will net an extra year of service time and, like with Bryant, his free agency will be pushed back a year. There’s obvious reasons for doing it, especially given the fact the team is junk and they’re nowhere near competing right now anyway, but are they risking damaging their relationship with the player who they’ve coined as their saviour?
There isn’t actually any true evidence to support that Bryant is pissed at the Cubs and that’s why he declined their supposed mega offer. Still, based on Boras’ heated comments and the filing of that grievance, there’s certainly reason to believe that Bryant isn’t going to be doing the Cubs any favours when it comes to getting paid (nor should he).
I don’t know. Maybe I’m reaching here. But if the Jays do truly believe in Vlad and they want him to be the player use to build the franchise, why dick around with him? Is the extra cheap year really worth the potential long-term ramifications of harming the relationship with your most important player? Why not let this kid learn how to play at the Major League level and then pay him the money he deserves?
Well, if that’s too depressing for you, here’s a video of Vlad crushing balls in Arizona…
Good morning from Surprise. Here’s Vladdy Jr. taking some BP. pic.twitter.com/bR6KXU8V3J
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) October 9, 2018