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Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Bryant turning down an extension from the Cubs got me thinking about Vlad

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…

  • Kockneykid

    This isn’t about Bryant it’s about Boras. He has been pissed ever since Steinbrenner Senior left the scene. Do we as fans want to see the continued escalation of payrolls? Are we eager to see a return of the year’s weekend when a strike seemed to loom every couple of years? To all those in Toronto who bitch about our current ownership, do any of you remember how much fun frigging Interbrew was? So be careful what you wish for. When we bitched about our shitty ownership in Montréal we thought we’d get a better owner – but we lost our team instead.

    • DAKINS

      I’m no fan of Boras, but if you look at it in terms of millionaires vs. billionaires, he is on the side of the little guy.

      Seeing as fans are seeing the continued escalation of ticket prices, and with it an escalation in team earnings, it would be nice to see an increase in spending on player salaries to go along with it.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    OT I know, but today is Tulo’s 34th birthday!! So-o-o, it’s time for a ….. TULO UPDATE!!

    First of all, Tulo sends a big shoutout to all the L’il Ninjas out there who’ve marked Tulo’s birthday on their calendars. And especially those who’ve been buying the ‘AA Mini Replica Deal’ on http://www.welcomesuckers.com and sending in their $20 a year donation for 5 years of Tulo Updates!

    Tulo wants all the L’il Ninjas to know that it’s been a great season for Tulo. With his buddy Josh joining him for a summer of boating and bowling, it’s as good as it gets, especially when you’re pulling down $20 million per. #Blessed. After spending the last year and a half on the DL, Tulo is happy to report that he has this DL thing totally down pat! So let’s all remember to tweet the #ReUpTulo hashtag to encourage the Blue Jays to extend Tulo beyond 2020 and keep the L’il Ninjas and AA’s shortstop together! After all, if Tulo can spend the last 3.5 years of his career on the DL, why interrupt a good thing??

    Clap-clap Clap-clap-clap. TULO!!

      • GrumblePup

        Oh, but didn’t you get the memo? If you make $20 million a year, you’re a scum bag if you’re hurt. Also, anyone who ever liked Tulo at any point in his career is now a big stupid idiot moron that loves to piss money away and doesn’t actually know anything about baseball.

        Nice Guy Eddie is the only one of us who truly understands. He has seen through the blinds the front office has pulled over everyone’s eyes. This was the plan all along! Acquire a player that in the future will get *gasp* AGE! THE ONLY PLAYER THAT WILL AGE! And then hire the big bad boys from Cleveland to come in and take dumps in everyone’s breakfast every day for a hundred years and then they can sell the team and make billions and billions of dollars.

        TomHorn, I hate to break it to you, but we’re both idiots. We should praise Eddie for his insight.

        • Nice Guy Eddie

          If he didn’t know then he was even more incompetent than I think he was. Everybody who knew anything about baseball knew what a joke Tulo’s contract was. He missed 220+ games in 2012-14 and Colorado was thrilled to find a sucker to take his contract off their hands that runs through 2020. While our competitors were making smart moves like trading for Gregorius, signing Boegarts, trading for Adames etc, ‘The Ninja’ AA was passing on shortstops like Simmons and Trea Turner in the draft so he could siphon the Rockies’ sewer by trading for their salary dump. Tulo’s a joke. So was the ‘trade’.

          • GrumblePup

            Can’t believe we have to do this every time but holy heck, shut up about the draft stuff. Lots of teams passed on Simmons, other teams passed on Turner. It’s a draft. Nothing is certain.

            AA didn’t purposefully not draft a shortstop in 2010 or 2014 because he knew that Tulo would be available for trade at the deadline in 2015. Like, are you actually out of your mind? Do you not see how insane of statement that is?

            The trade literally didn’t cost us anything of value (have you looked at anything at all outside of Tulo’s performance in Toronto?) Hoffman and Tinoco haven’t amounted to shit. Castro has been ‘ok’ for 1 season out of the bullpen in Baltimore. And who cares about Jose Reyes?

            We got more value out of Tulo and LaTroy Hawkins than Colorado did out of everyone we sent them.

            Yeah, it sucks that Tulo didn’t play this whole year. Yeah, its not great that so much money is tied up in his salary, but that’s sports sometimes. And sometimes, when you’re pushing for a World Series, you take risks.

            So piss off with the whole “Lil’ Ninjas” condescension bullshit. Obtaining Tulo hasn’t hurt the Jays in any way, unless you include the feelings and egos of pissbaby cryboys like yourself.

          • The Humungus

            Epic fail on this troll job here, brother.

            Trea Turner wouldn’t have helped in 2015 with his .225/.295/.325 slash line in 24 major league games, and minus glove in 25.2 innings at SS that year.

            And Simmons was drafted in the second round, so it’s not like every other team in baseball didn’t also pass on him, most of them more than once. Plus, two of the Jays draft picks that year ahead of Simmons are MLB starting pitchers now, so, there’s that as well.

  • I Like The Blue Jays

    Is it at all possible to have him on opening day roster and just sit him here and there throughout the season? I’m not positive about how service time works but I like the idea.

    • Hentgen

      They would have to send him down, but it’s possible. However, that’s even more obviously manipulating service time than if they didn’t let him break with the team.

      • GrumblePup

        Unless he actually proves he could use some more seasoning in rhe minors for his fielding. Then it’s not manipulation. Its exactly what they’ve been saying.

  • Hentgen

    The long and short of it is that the team likely has no plan to keep him past his arbitration years, so this is all moot.

    And to anyone who thinks Vlad being shafted out of an extra 10-15 million won’t bother him: get real. Get fucking real.

    • TomHorn

      Agreed 100%, Guerrero comes from a rich family and has already made Millions, i hope he’s a good Blue Jay but after his contract is up he’s like everyone else, a mercenary looking out for himself trying to make the most $$$$$ he can.

        • The Humungus

          I respectfully disagree for the following reasons:

          His bat will, assuming quality and health, get him significant arb awards due to their formulas and love for counting/traditional stats.

          His glove won’t hurt him too much there, so long as he’s at least passable (especially if he moves to first).

          But, if his glove doesn’t improve to a significant degree, and he keeps a similar body to the one he has now, he’ll max out at a 6 year deal in free agency. And if teams are looking at him more like a DH by that point (because let’s face it, he might be), that will keep his earnings down to whatever the 2026 equivalent of a JD Martinez deal is. Which is about what he’ll earn in his last arb year if he’s healthy and he hits the way everyone thinks he will (see Donaldson’s $23M in his final arb year this year)

  • DandyMoldonado

    The Jays will not sign Vladdy to a mega-contract when he hits free agency or any sort of Bryant-like extension to buy out some arb years. I think in year 7 we’re all going to be pretty happy we didn’t burn a year of Vladdy on 2018 or 2019

  • Renegade

    Bryant not signing a contract is nothing new. Scott Boras or any other agent will tell all young players to get to free agency ASAP to cash in!
    No young star players sign extensions.
    Does anyone think Sanchez or Stroman would be willing to sign extensions?

  • BLUJBABY

    Hey Cam, first time commenting on here… but you are wondering if you may be reaching. IMO, yes. Even if the Jays do truly believe Vlad is the guy to build the franchise, they aren’t dicking him around by sending him down for a few weeks. Here are the reasons why #1 – Everyone knows how the system works and it’s permitted, so there will be no surprises when he gets sent down. #2, there are plenty of reasons the team can use, such as more training at AAA on the fundamentals and fielding. #3 The Jays can say they need the beginning of the season to see what they have in their current stock of infielders at 3B, including those signed or traded to the Jays during the season. #4, they need the time to figure out and rework their 40 roster/make additional trades. In the end, it’s also a business. You state “Is the extra cheap year really worth the potential long-term ramifications of harming the relationship with your most important player?” This has nothing to do with an extra “cheap year” as you put it, it has to do with the extra year period. If he performs to his capabilities, there will be nothing cheap about his 7th year in the bigs, look at JD, $23 million in his last arb eligible year. Lastly, we presume Vlad will be pissed about losing a year of free agency….Well, 7 years would be a long time to hold a grudge…..but we forget that the Jays could always do what they did with JD and settle during his arb years for more money, or at least buy out his arb years. As for the notion of letting him learn at the majors….doesn’t that kind of go against everything many fans have criticized the Jays for in the past, for bring up folks like Travis and Pompey etc too early? And why do it, when the Jays are still looking at last place next season. Having Vlad for an extra 3 weeks isn’t going to change that.

    • canadian1967

      The 40 man roster is why they didn’t bring him up this September. Saves 1 spot, which is important considering the Rule 5 Draft implications we are already facing next month.

      I think they WILL actually put Vladdy on the Opening Day roster in 2019… as long as he has a good Spring and actually makes the Team, because there probably is no way the Jays will sign him when he gets to Free Agency anyway, so Service Time won’t matter.

    • Abogilo

      I agree with everything you say.. except the beef with the extra cheap year. Cam was exactly right. The extra cheap year is at league minimum (or super 2 arb) rates instead of starting that process a year earlier and getting Vladdy to free agency a year early… so we don’t get an extra year 7 on the deal.. we get a year 0.

    • Hentgen

      Let’s get this out of the way: holding down a player for service time reasons IS AGAINST THE RULES.

      That’s why Bryant filed a grievance and that’s why Shapiro swore up and down it wasn’t a business decision.

      Something being difficult to enforce is not the same as it being allowed.

      And, please, tell me how long is an appropriate time to hold a grudge over being played out of eight figures by a corporation worth billions.