Cubs

Kris Bryant lost the service-time battle but has eyes on winning the war

Kris Bryant lost the service-time battle but has eyes on winning the war

He always knew it was going to be an uphill battle. Kris Bryant just expected the climb to last a couple of weeks, not a couple of months. 

“Yeah, jeez. That took forever,” Bryant said on Saturday in regards to the grievance he filed against the Cubs in 2015. “It really did. At the beginning of it, I was told that it’d take maybe a couple weeks, so I was ready for it. And then the offseason kept going on and I was like, ‘All right, come out with it, let’s go.’”

Fast forward a few months, and the Cubs’ star third baseman got an answer – just not the one he, his agent Scott Boras and the MLB Players Association were looking for. An independent arbitrator disagreed with the notion that the Cubs had manipulated Bryant’s service time in order to keep him under contract longer and ruled that he would remain under team control until after the 2021 season. While many felt that the Cubs violated the spirit of the law, ultimately, they didn’t infringe on the letter. 

“Obviously we had a disagreement. We handled it respectfully,” Bryant said. “I’m very thankful that Theo and the team saw it through. I saw it through to the end because it was something that I really believed in. My Mom and Dad told me to always stand up for what I believed in, and I was going to see the process through, and I saw it through. Respect on both ends, there’s definitely no hard feelings, so let’s definitely put that narrative to bed.” 

Despite one of the strongest cases in the history of these contractual disputes, there were ultimately too many ambiguities involved to reward Bryant with free agency one year earlier. Getting a substantial raise would have been nice but much of Bryant’s motivation behind filing the grievance in the first place came from a sense of responsibility to bring to light what many feel are unfair labor laws within the current collectively-bargained agreement. It’s certainly not one extra year of market value salary but as baseball barrels towards a contentious stretch of negotiations, bringing the issue to light – according to Bryant – is a win within itself. 

“I definitely felt that responsibility to take it on and be like, I want to be the guy that fights for this because I believe this is right,” he said. “And it’s going to help us in 2 years.

“I think it’s good for us to go through stuff like this. You identify the problems that you see, and you try to make it better. This last round, I think we, as players, really took a whoopin’. It’s up to us to fight for things that we think are right.” 

Don’t be surprised when Bryant continues to be a public figure throughout the next 24 months (or more) of discussions. He’s one of the game’s most recognizable faces and from the very start, his five-year career has been tied to the hip of MLB’s service time manipulation controversy. He was vocal about squashing any idea that he held ill-will towards the Cubs front office but did concede that the gray area which many front offices love to exploit has opened the door for uncomfortable, unnecessary friction. 

“The team doesn’t want to go through it,” he said. “I mean, Theo doesn’t want to have to make decisions like that, and cause … I wouldn’t say problems, but disagreements between players and the front office. I don’t want to be put in that situation either, so let’s just make it black and white. It’d make things a whole lot easier.” 

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Here are the top trades in Cubs franchise history

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USA TODAY

Here are the top trades in Cubs franchise history

With the MLB season suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19, the 2020 schedule could be tightened or even shortened. Which got me thinking...

How will the July 31 trade deadline be affected?

If the season starts in May or June, does the regular season go deeper than September? Whether it does or doesn't, does the deadline get pushed back to whatever the midpoint of the season is? Does MLB get rid of the deadline in 2020 altogether?

I'm just thinking out loud here. Then, I went down a rabbit hole and starting thinking of the top trades the Cubs have made in their history.

From Kiki to Fergie to Arrieta, here are the top deals the Cubs have made all-time.

Top trades in Cubs franchise history

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Yu Darvish's GQ magazine history only makes Cubs' ace more likable

Yu Darvish's GQ magazine history only makes Cubs' ace more likable

Yu Darvish is the Cubs' ace, a social media wiz and fan favorite. After a disastrous debut season in Chicago, he put together an impressive 2019 second half that has people bullish on his 2020 prospects — whenever the season may comemence.

Here's a couple notes you may not have known about the veteran right-hander:

1. Darvish pitched for Japan in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Big league players don’t participate in the quadrennial event because it occurs in the thick of the MLB season. Darvish was able to compete because he was still pitching in Japan’s NPB league.

2. Darvish’s father, Farsad, is Iranian, and his mother, Ikuyo, is Japanese. They met at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Farsad played soccer. Farsad encouraged him to play soccer, but Yu preferred baseball.

3. In 2007, Darvish established the “Darvish Yu Water Fund” in collaboration with the Japan Water Forum. The project’s mission is to provide clean water to developing countries.

4. In 2012, Darvish was named the GQ Man of the Year in Japan. The magazine also billed him as the “Elvis of Japan” in 2010. 

Ace, humanitarian and GQ cover model. What's not to like about this guy?

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