The Cubs made the announcement Monday that’s been expected since last fall, Kris Bryant will begin the season in the minor leagues.
The Cubs officially re-assigned Kris Bryant to minor league camp and he will spend at least two more weeks in an Iowa Cubs uniform. And the reaction from across baseball was almost immediate.
The Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement that mentioned the union could take legal action. The statement from the MLBPA does not address the fact that Bryant is not part of the union yet.
Major League Baseball responded to the Players Association with a statement supporting the Cubs decision. And Scott Boras shared his thoughts about the Cubs starting the season without Kris Bryant on the roster.
The MLBPA released the following statement after the Cubs announced Kris Bryant would begin the season in the minor leagues:
“Today is a bad day for baseball. I think we all know that even if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest Players to play our great 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.”
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Union “is not questioning the collective-bargaining agreement, but whether clubs are acting in the spirit of the agreement.”
Major League Baseball released the following statement defending the Cubs decision:
“In accordance with long established practice under the Basic Agreement, a club has an unfettered right to determine which players are part of its opening-day roster. This issue was discussed extensively in bargaining in 2011, and the principle was not changed. We do not believe that it is appropriate for the players’ association to make the determination that Kris Bryant should be on the Cubs’ 25-man roster while another player, who, unlike Bryant, is a member of its bargaining unit, should be cut or sent to the minor leagues.”
Theo Epstein addressed the Cubs decision with the team’s beat writers:
“It’s always difficult to send young players down because it is news they don’t want to hear. We entered camp with the presumptive move of sending him to Triple-A, and it is always the presumptive move for us with young players who haven’t played in the big leagues yet. You see how camp develops and how the roster shapes up to see if there is grounds for an exception to the rule.”
Epstein added the Cubs are more likely to call up Bryant “sooner than later at this point” considering “how he’s playing and how close he showed he is to the majors.” Epstein said Monday that Kris Bryant will play “an important role on the team.”
Jon Paul Morosi reached out to Scott Boras. Here’s what Bryant’s agent said Monday:
“‘Ersatz Baseball.’ MLB is not MLB without the best players. Kris excelled at every level and earned the right of entry. The CBA is at the apogee of wrongs incentivizing clubs to create a product less than best. Bryant’s situation is the badge for change to the CBA player service structure. Kris is a professional and persevering. His work ethic and commitment is constant wherever he plays. His talent is deserving now, but nonessential time awaits his arrival.”
Theo Epstein told the beat writers there are no hard feelings between the team and Scott Boras. The Cubs know that Boras is doing his job and acting in the best interest of his client.