Scott Boras: Union handling Kris Bryant's grievance against Cubs


Scott Boras: Union handling Kris Bryant's grievance against Cubs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In essence, Kris Bryant became a franchise-level player from the moment the Cubs drafted him in 2013, a No. 2 overall pick with off-the-charts power, media savvy and so much marketing potential.

In the same way that Bryant views it as his responsibility to sign as many autographs as he can at the ballpark — and embraces the endorsements, billboards and commercials as a businessman — does he see this service-time grievance against the Cubs as bigger than himself?

From the outside, it looks like a statement on behalf of the Major League Baseball Players Association, trying to make a larger point heading into negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement that expires after the 2016 season.

But super-agent Scott Boras wouldn’t go that far — or even zing the Cubs that much — while doing his annual media session at the winter meetings.

“This is a union matter,” Boras said Wednesday inside the Opryland complex. “There’s an ambiguity. It needs to be resolved so that the sides know more about how to handle that situation.

“Kris Bryant is the performer. It’s that when his talent is so great, the rarity of the ambiguity had risen. That’s all.”

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This week began with a Yahoo! Sports report that identified Bryant and Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco as involved in the grievance process. Bryant (171) and Franco (170) finished just short of the 172 days needed for a full year of service, the bottom line being they can’t become free agents until after the 2021 season.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer responded by saying the team had known about the grievance since May: “Obviously, we feel like we were in the right.”

After the issue exploded into a national story during spring training, Bryant played seven games at Triple-A Iowa, debuted at Wrigley Field on April 17, made the National League All-Star team and became a unanimous Rookie of the Year pick.

“This is about rule interpretation, the intent,” Boras said. “That’s something the drafters of the CBA and an arbitrator will have to define. The union’s handling it.”

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Why can't a trade be looked at as a win-win? 

There doesn't always have to be a clear winner and loser.

Prior to Jose Quintana taking the ball for Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, Joe Maddon was asked about the players (Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease) the Cubs gave up to acquire Quintana as well as the deal with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman in July 2016.

Gleyber Torres is absolutely killing it in New York, hitting .323 with a 1.014 OPS, 9 homers and 24 RBI in only 29 games. Six of those homers have come in the last week alone. 

With the White Sox, both Jimenez and Cease have found success in Double-A and Advanced Class-A, respectively.

Jimenez is hitting .331 with a .992 OPS, 9 homers and 35 RBI in 35 games. Cease is 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 47.2 innings.

As the Cubs work to get their offense settled into a consistent groove, some Cubs fans have been looking at what might've been with guys like Torres and Jimenez.

"You can't have it both ways, man," Maddon said. "I'm happy for Gleyber. When he left, we talked about it. And we talked about the kids that went to the White Sox. It's good stuff. 

"I'm really disappointed if anybody's disappointed in the fact we won the World Series in 2016 and the fact that the guy we're talking about that we had to give up Gleyber for was so instrumental in that happening. That's bad process if you're gonna get stuck on something like that. Be happy for Gleyber. Be happy for him."

Maddon has been a fan of Torres' since he saw him in spring training in 2015, Maddon's first year in the Cubs organization.

"This kid's 21, with high, high baseball intellect," Maddon said. "He's very similar to Javy on the field. I've had some great conversations with him in the past. 

"The first time I saw him in spring training, I thought this guy's for real. It was like one at-bat, line drive to RF, I said who is this guy? And then you have a conversation with him. He's solid."

Maddon's point is a great one — would Cubs fans prefer to still have Torres and NOT have the 2016 World Series championship? Because that title doesn't happen without Chapman, regardless of how you feel about him as a person or what the Cubs had to give up to acquire him.

"Don't play that game," Maddon said. "Be happy for [Torres]. I'm gonna be happy when Eloy and Dylan make it up here. All these dudes, I want them to get here and be really good. And the guys that we get, I want them to be really good. 

"I don't understand why somebody's gotta lose all the time. This is an absolute classic example of what was good for both teams."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998


Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.