It’s the final week of spring training and teams around Major League Baseball are making their final decisions about which players will be on their opening day rosters. It’s not unusual for young prospects to be sent down to the minor leagues despite good spring training performances. A good batting average or a low ERA might have been accumulated against other minor leaguers. There could be signs that a hitter struggles with off-speed pitches or a pitcher struggles to throw an off-speed pitch. Defensive skills or decision-making that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet might be below par.

The point is that there are lot of intangibles outside of statistics that determine whether a team thinks a young player is ready for the big leagues. So it’s unusual when the demotion of a minor leaguer gets the media attention that Kris Bryant received when the Cubs reassigned him to minor league camp. A .425 batting average and an eye-popping 9 home runs for the young third baseman considered the top prospect in baseball certainly didn’t hurt his chances of making the team. Also, the current third baseman Luis Valbuena isn’t blocking the advancement of Bryant. What raises eyebrows is the circumstance surrounding Bryant’s free agency eligibility. By keeping him in the minors for just 12 days, the Cubs can delay Bryant from becoming eligible for free agency by one year. I’m curious what Cubs general manager Theo Epstein gave as an explanation for the reason Bryant needs more time in the minor leagues. Is there a legitimate reason or are the Cubs simply trying to save money? While the latter might make business sense, there does seem to be something unsavory about taking advantage of the rules to deprive Bryant of a deserved place in the Major Leagues. I wonder if he and his agent, Scott Boras, will remember that in 2021.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Comment