Scott Boras rips Cubs over Kris Bryant handling
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is considered by many to be the No. 1 prospect in baseball, yet a team that has not won more than 75 games since 2009 has yet to allow him to make his Major League debut. This has infuriated his agent, the legendary Scott Boras.
During an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports on Tuesday, Boras unloaded on the Cubs for being more concerned about money than winning.
“You are damaging the ethics and brand of Major League Baseball,” Boras said. “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.”
Bryant, 23, has been on fire during spring training. He already has a league-best six home runs to go along with 30 total bases, a .435 batting average, .500 on-base percentage and 1.304 slugging percentage. The third baseman belted 43 home runs in the minors last season.
Boras believes the Cubs are delaying Bryant’s MLB debut to save arbitration money and prevent him from becoming a free agent a year earlier.
“This isn’t a system choice. This isn’t a mandate,” Boras said. “This is a flat ownership decision. Do they really want to win here?”
As Nightengale notes, the Cubs feel Bryant’s defense could benefit from more time in Triple-A. He is also recovering from some shoulder fatigue that has prevented him from playing third base for several days. According to Cubs president Theo Epstein, the decision to leave Bryant off the opening day roster has to do with baseball and nothing else.
“You never have a second chance to promote somebody the first time,” Epstein said. “You want to make sure they’re in the right place. In Kris’ case, we know he’s ready offensively, we just want to get him in a good rhythm defensively.
“We do a better job at player development than we do strategizing on how to save a few dollars here and there. That’s what we want to be all about. We don’t think we screwed him up, and we don’t think we’re going to.”
Boras isn’t buying it. He knows the Cubs can keep Bryant from becoming eligible for free agency before 2021 by leaving him in the minors for at least 12 days after opening day, and he thinks the motive is clear.
“The fact that this player is so talented that you’re worried about what you’re going to do with him seven years from now gives you an idea about this value to the team,” he said. “The Cubs haven’t had a pennant since 1945, so why worry about something six years from now. Other owners, when given the choice, have done this. Why not give yourself a chance to win, too?”
Boras feels the Cubs should have called Bryant up last September. To his credit, Bryant has been saying and doing all of the right things publicly.
“I tune it out,” the prospect said. “It’s kind of getting old for me now. I’m just trying to go out there and play baseball. If they see me as one of the top 25 guys at the end of spring, I’ll be out there. That’s all I can do, really.”
Very few people feel that Bryant is not one of the top 25 players in the Cubs organization at the moment. And given some of the free agent acquisitions the team made in the offseason, it’s safe to assume Chicago’s brass wants to win now. We’d be stunned if Bryant remains in Triple-A for more than a small portion of the 2015 season.