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MLBPA and George Springer’s agent considering filing grievance over service time

Mar 22, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

George Springer Getty Images

Recently, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Astros offered top prospect George Springer a seven-year, $23 million contract last September. As Matthew Pouliot explained earlier this week, it was a way for the Astros to guarantee themselves a bargain while giving Springer the playing time in the Majors he obviously wants. Springer, though, rejected the deal, preferring to keep control over his own fate.

Over the off-season, the Astros acquired Dexter Fowler to play center field, which all but guaranteed Springer would be back in the minors when the 2014 season began. The reason is obvious: without that contract in place, the Astros are being careful with how they use Springer. If he makes his debut before June and accrues any serious amount of playing time, the Astros likely lose a year of control, making Springer a free agent after the 2019 season rather than after 2020.

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Springer’s agent Greg Genske and the MLBPA are considering filing a grievance over Springer’s playing time. Drellich writes:

Although Springer is technically not a member of the major league baseball players association — he is not on the team’s 40-man roster yet — that does not limit the union’s ability to potentially contest that the Astros did not act properly. The central issue is always whether the collective bargaining agreement was violated in any way.

Springer, 24, slashed .303/.411/.600 with 37 home runs between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was rated the 20th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus recently.

  1. chill1184 - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    This will be interesting to see how this develops

  2. tfbuckfutter - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Part of me says “if you don’t like it, negotiate a better deal that handles this potential situation”….

    But then another part of me says “Shut up, dummy, this is probably the first step toward doing that”

    And then a third part of me says “Post this anyway. I want another beer.”

  3. Francisco (FC) - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Wait. Is this the MLBPA giving a rat’s ass over a minor league player? How refreshing.

    • paperlions - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      …a little late, too. I’m sure international amateur players that had their earning power cut off at the knees by the MLBPA would like to have a word with those hypocrites.

  4. paperlions - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    The MLBPA has spent the better part of the last 20 years negotiating away the rights and earning power as amateur players, minor league players , and MLB players 6 yrs of service time….and now they suddenly give a crap about the other guys?

    Whatever….where were you guys a few years ago when you sold out amateurs and international players?

  5. disgracedfury - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    The Astros have the last year purposely lost to get the first overral pick and now are screwing over a minor leaguer who is 24 and a year late.George Springer should be pissed as he should have gotten to the MLB in Sept after the minors finished but the Astros wanted the #1 pick.

    • mannfm11 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Springer went to college and there isn’t any guarantee he can hit in the dance. It isn’t like this guy spent the past 5 years riding the bus in the low minors and I am sure he got a pretty good bonus. If the union can tell the team who to put on the roster, then they can tell the team who to play, bat leadoff, start the games, etc. Might as well fire the manager and the GM.

  6. chiadam - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    A grievance over what? The Astros are well within their rights. They offered him a contract, which he declined. He’s certainly allowed to do so. And the Astros responded by doing what every other team in MLB would do. He would have to file a grievance that rewrites a portion of the CBA.

    • dcarroll73 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      Sir, I think the answer to your question is, “law is an adversarial system.” It the MLBPA finally realizes that these games harm their future members and probably violate the spirit of their CBA, maybe they will act. I would think they could argue based on stats put up by players without the “team control” issue who put up worse numbers but were welcomed to rosters while guys with clearly better numbers were not (with the only difference being that control issue.)

  7. sabatimus - Mar 23, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    I think there’s no CBA merit to such a grievance. Unfortunately. There’s have to be a rule change first. On the other hand, the Astros are doing a wonderful job alienating one of their top prospects. If that’s the way the Stros want to do business, then more power to them when they lose another 100 games.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:03 AM

      Actually, from what I understand there is grounds for a grievance, it’s proving the case that’s the issue.

  8. zdravit - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    He shall now request his unconditional release from that sorry franchise.

  9. mannfm11 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    There are 750 jobs in MLB. If Springer plays, someone else gets cut or goes to the minors. That guy is union dues paying player. If I were the guy that got sent down because this type of stuff was forced on the teams, I would sue the union for breach of fiduciary duty.

    There seems to be some delusion the fans, TV and the owners have an unlimited amount of money to pay these guys. My tickets went up another $2 a game, third straight year, for a total increase of over $800. Plus parking went up. The customers need to be represented as well. The unions, the corporations, Asia and the rest of the world is going to suddenly find out the average Joe in the US is out of credit.

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