Well it seems the rules do, indeed, apply to Scott Boras.
He sued major league baseball on behalf of Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant over the service time issue in the collective bargaining agreement.
He wasn’t happy with how it was applied to his client. Apparently, he struggles with both words in the term collective bargaining.
Collective meaning it applies to everyone. Bargaining meaning it was agreed upon.
Some people believe they are so precious the rules don’t apply to them. Boras and Bryant found out they are not.
At issue is service time. A team has control over a player for six seasons once he is called up to the major leagues. So, what constitutes a season? That was the issue.
In 2015 when Bryant was called up, there were 182 days in the regular season (162 games are played within those 182 days. Now it’s 187 days, hence starting the season in mid-March.) In the collective bargaining agreement which was bargained collectively, it was agreed upon that a player’s major league clock started the first season he spent on a major league roster, and a season would consist of 172 days. So, basically, all a team has to do is wait eleven days after the season to bring up a player, so that player can get only 171 days of service time before the season begins, and that doesn’t constitute a full season, and you get that 9/10th of a season extra.
That’s exactly what the Cubs did. Bryant hit .450 that spring with 17 home runs. It was obvious he was ready. The Cubs said he had to stay in the minor leagues to work on his defense. So, he was called up on Day Eleven of the 2015 season, meaning by the end of 2015 he had compiled only 171 days of service time. Which meant his six years of control started with 2016.
He complained they manipulated the rules, which they did but had the right to do, and he promised to file the grievance when he could, which he did. And lost. Because the collective bargaining agreement was agreed on collectively.
So, now, the Kris Bryant watch begins. No way is he going to stay with the Cubs after losing a lawsuit against them. They will trade him for that reason and because they want to reduce salary. They have nearly $70 million a season tied up in Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, and Jason Heyward.
So, now the same teams that lost out on Rendon, then Donaldson, then Arenado, are going to be all in on Bryant.
The Dodgers, Braves, Nationals, and, of course, Rangers. If one is handicapping the winner, that is also the order of probability. LA, Atlanta and Washington have much stronger prospects as well as major league ready talent than the Rangers. So, all things being equal, they aren’t equal for Texas.
So, the Kris Bryant sweepstakes begins. The Cubs might not trade him before the seasons starts but he will be traded before the season ends.
Acquiring Bryant would be a huge feather in Daniels’s cap. Does he have it in him?