Like most of Chicago, Scott Boras wants to see Kris Bryant promoted to the Major Leagues where he belongs. He has dominated at every level in the minor leagues, earning himself the award of Minor League Player of the Year. He has done everything the Chicago Cubs have asked of him, and probably deserves a promotion. However, Theo Epstein has been crystal clear on his plans for Bryant from the get go. He has stated several times that Bryant will not be promoted this year, no matter what he accomplishes in the minor league system. Epstein has stated that he wants Bryant to play a full year in the Minor Leagues before getting the call up. We are simply left to just wait for Bryant to make his big league debut.
Now that Bryant has officially played in a full year of Minor League Baseball, there seems to be little reason to keep Bryant down. There is nothing left for him to prove in the Minor Leagues. Theo knows this, Bryant knows this and Boras knows this. That is why Boras has been so adamant that his client get called up to face his final test. That test will have to wait until 2015 though.
Since being drafted by the Cubs in 2013, Bryant has pretty much been playing baseball non-stop. Looking at this year alone, Bryant has played more baseball this year than in any year in his life. When you add up Spring Training, the All Star game and the 138 games on Minor League Baseball he has played in, is a massive leap from the amount of games he played in college. Bryant could use the time off to rest his body for the 2015 season when he is likely to make his debut, whenever that takes place. Epstein recognizes this, and I am sure despite his insistence that Bryant get called up, that Boras agrees.
After all, Boras is the same guy who agreed with the Washington Nationals decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg in the middle of the pennant race back in 2012.
“For us, it showed if you burn ‘em up too soon, where the bodies aren’t mature and they aren’t strong and haven’t had the benefit of the conditioning, maturity and age of others, they aren’t going to have the careers they and their teams’ envisioned,” Boras said.
Of course, there are vast differences between Strasburg and Bryant. Most notably, Strasburg is a pitcher who was coming off of Tommy John surgery, and Kris Bryant is a young hitter waiting to get to the Major Leagues. There is also one more difference between the two.
Strasburg’s clock was started back in 2010 when he got the call to the Major Leagues the beginning of June that year. He was already making Major League money and was getting ever closer to the big money free agent contract. Of course Boras would be okay with limiting his star pitchers workload to preserve his longevity. and protect both his and Strasburg’s career. Something he should also try to do for Bryant, what is best for the player and the team?
““What’s best for the player, what’s best for the team in 2015? The goal here is trying to make the team the best it can be in 2015. And what can you do to ready him for that?”
What is best for Bryant, is exactly what Epstein has said
“A first full professional season is a long grind, whether he realizes it or not. It’s appropriate to go home and rest and go get some active rest physically and let some things soak in mentally and come back ready to go for what we hope will be a seven-month season for him next year.”
Boras agreeing with the shutdown proves he looks out for what is best for his client. He did so with Strasburg who was coming off a severe injury, and he should do so with Bryant who has gone through his first full season and could benefit from taking some time off to recharge his batteries. Sure, he could get called up now then have four months off, but the Cubs may be planning on sending him to an instructional league to keep his outfield playing ability strong. Of course, they could always refresh his ability to play the outfield in Spring Training while allowing Addison Russell to learn to play third base. But, there is no doubt that Epstein wants Bryant to remain fully capable of playing the outfield.
“We’re going to keep outfield fresh for him,” Theo Epstein said. “Now that it’s been a full year since college we want to make sure he doesn’t lose that. “
Do we all want to see Bryant face Major League pitching? Of course, I look forward to seeing him dominate this league as he has every step along the way. But a September call up may not be what is best for his client or the ball club. But what is best for the ball club is the least of what Boras cares about. Agents get paid by players to do what is best for their client, which usually involves making them a whole lot of money. The quickest way for Bryant to make a lot of money is for the Cubs to call him now and start his clock. That is the only reason why Boras wants Bryant called up. The sooner Bryant gets called up, the sooner he gets his big contract, the sooner Boras makes a lot of money.
Strasburg, already in the Major Leagues, on his way to his big free agent contract, Boras supports a shutdown. Bryant, still in the minors, miles away from his big contract, Boras against a shutdown. Again, vastly different circumstances between the two players, but seeing how different circumstances dictate how Boras thinks and works for his players “best interests” is interesting.