There’s a consensus going around that not everyone is excited about the “demotion” of Kris Bryant. I’m in that camp myself and feel his output this spring was exceptional and worthy of a spot on the Opening Day roster. He led the majors this spring in home runs. Does that not qualify?
But whatever the reasons, it was a club decision.
“I could be in this game for a long time and not send down three players that talented on the same day ever again,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Monday. “Those three are pretty good.”
Along with Bryant, Javier Baez and Addison Russell were sent down. Let’s face it, Javier didn’t look good this spring. There are few people who would disagree that Baez needed plate discipline if he wants to play in the majors, but he needs more work.
As for Addison Russell, well, he just needs more playing time.
“Everybody is conscious of it,” New York Yankees lefty reliever Andrew Miller said, via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. “Hey, we have a chance to make a lot of money in this game, but the rules are the rules. If that works in the Cubs favor, and the Cubs are a better team for that, they’re entitled to (use the rule to their favor). We negotiated that. It’s the reality of what our collective bargaining agreement says.”
And there you have it. It’s purely a financial thing and to tell you the truth, I would have done the very same thing had I been in Epstein’s shoes.
I mentioned in previous posts about the Cubs having good problems and this is an example of those problems. The team has too much depth.
“Today is a bad day for baseball,” the MLBPA said. “I think we all know that even if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest players to play our game, and perhaps he will be before it’s all said and done, the Cubs still would have made the decision they made today. This decision, and other similar decisions made by clubs will be addressed in litigation, bargaining or both.”
But wait you say, Perhaps if this were twenty years ago would the Cubs have made the same decision?
“The only thing Kris did to contribute to the story was play really well, and that’s what we want our players to do,” Epstein said. “No hard feelings at all. Scott was doing his job for his player. He’s an agent, so he has a right to choose how he wants to get his point across. I can just control what I can control.”