Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant has been on a tear throughout spring training, but with the Cubbies potentially mulling the possibility of starting him in Triple-A, a battle is brewing between Bryant's agent and Cubs management.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the case in favor of not putting the power-hitting third baseman on the MLB roster right away is the fact that holding him back for 12 days will postpone free agency by one year.
While that approach would help Chicago financially, agent Scott Boras believes that sending his client down would wrong message to Cubs fans, per Rosenthal.
"Cubs ownership has a choice," Boras said. "Are they going to present to their market that they are trying to win? (Owner) Tom Ricketts said they were all about winning. When someone says it's the system, no, it's a choice—the choice of winning."
Boras even took his comments one step further in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today as he pointed out the impact that keeping Bryant in the minors could have on baseball as a whole.
You are damaging the ethics and brand of Major League Baseball. Kris Bryant has extraordinary skills. Kris Bryant is a superstar. He has distinguished himself from all players at every level he's played. Everybody in baseball is saying he's a major-league player ready for the big leagues. I have players call me. Executives call me. The Cubs' people want him there. Everyone says, 'They cannot send this guy down.' It's too obvious.
Despite Boras' feelings on the matter, Cubs president Theo Epstein made it clear that Bryant's status will strictly be an organizational decision, according to Rosenthal.
Kris Bryant's development path has absolutely nothing to do with ownership, period. As with all our baseball decisions, I will determine where Kris begins the 2015 season after consulting with members of our baseball operations staff. Comments from agents, media members and anybody outside our organization will be ignored.
For some perspective on just how dominant Bryant has been throughout spring training, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports points out that his six home runs are more than the Toronto Blue Jays have as a team:
Even Bryant's teammates are taking notice and being quite vocal about how good the 23-year-old phenom already is, per MLB.com's Richard Justice:
There is no question that the Cubs have a tough choice on their hands since they have to balance economics and the on-field product.
Bryant has superstar written all over him, so while having him start the season in the minors may not be a good look for the organization, it may ultimately prove to be the smartest business decision in terms of keeping him under team control for as long as possible.
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