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Cubs prospect Kris Bryant on lack of September call-up: “I’m realizing this game is a business”

Sep 3, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT

Kris Bryant Cubs Getty Images

Kris Bryant was the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, hit .325 with 43 homers and a 1.098 OPS in 138 games between Double-A and Triple-A in his first full season as a pro, and will win a whole bunch of Minor League Player of the Year awards.

But he’s not being called up to the majors by the Cubs while a bunch of his Triple-A teammates get September promotions.

So what does Bryant think of that? Here’s what he told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

I think now more than ever, I’m realizing this game is a business, and all I can do is go out there and play as hard as I can and make it really hard on the guys in charge. I think I did that this year. If I’m taking that mindset, then I’m not really going to be sitting there with my head down at the end of the year.

Bryant’s lack of a promotion is due to the Cubs not having to add him to the 40-man roster yet and not wanting to start his MLB service time, which was all news to Bryant:

It’s kind of funny, all the rules. Coming into professional baseball, I had no clue. I didn’t pay any attention to it in college, either. At the end of my first season, I kind of know the lingo about all this stuff. I guess the system works in some ways, and in some ways there are some flaws. I can’t focus on that. I’ve always been high on avoiding the distractions.

Based on merit alone Bryant would already be in the majors, but the Cubs want to keep him under team control for as long as possible and they aren’t going anywhere this season anyway. That probably annoys Bryant quite a bit, but he’s handling it well publicly and the Cubs are just doing what almost every team would do in the same situation. Blame the rules, not the team taking advantage of them.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 3, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Yes, and won’t it be fun when Bryant is approaching his walk year and the Cubs are pleading with him to discuss an extension, he gently reminds them that baseball is a business.

    • brazcubas - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Conversely, though, I doubt Bryant would have given the Cubs a discount through his arbitration years if they had called him up. As you pointed out, the business thing goes both ways.

      • Paper Lions - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Exactly. No player ever gave a team a discount because they let him start his rookie year in the majors, thereby forfeiting a year of control, or because they gave him more than the minimum salary during his pre-arbitration years. That stuff all counts for nothing when it comes time to negotiate the next deal.

        Players would love for their clubs to be more generous than necessary, but that generosity won’t be reciprocated when they become a FA…it never is.

      • stex52 - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        It’s funny how the clubs dance around these issues. The Astros passed on Mark Appel two years ago for the cheaper Carlos Correa because Appel had Boras as an agent. Then last year Appel really wanted to play in Houston, so they cut a pretty decent deal with Boras (who, after all, does what his clients want).

        I wanted the Astros to go for Bryant #1 last year, but he didn’t have an agreement in advance through Boras like Appel did . Guess who will hit the Majors first? It’s really easy for these GM’s to outsmart themselves in this business.

  2. asimonetti88 - Sep 3, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    I’d assume he’ll be up fairly early next season… like when Mike Trout was called up in late April in 2012 because of service reasons..

    • tfilarski - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      you hit the nail on the head. he’ll be up in the 3rd week of April 2015. Theo n Jed are taking into consideration that Scott Boras is his agent

  3. jc4455 - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    It’s service time, but also their 40 man is stuffed with young players who probably wouldn’t pass waivers. They load up on lottery tickets like Jacob Turner and the 40 man becomes a limiting factor in what they can do

    • hackerjay - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Yeah, I really think this is more of a roster space issue than a service time issue. Bringing him up for September wouldn’t have really done much to his service time clock, and obviously they didn’t mind doing it with the other prospects they’ve called up. They just didn’t want to drop anyone off the 40 man.

    • jeffbbf - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Exactly. If Bryant is called up, he has to be added to the 40 man roster. If he’s added, someone else has to be taken off the 40 man roster and exposed to waivers. It just doesn’t make sense.

  4. rosiebrowne5 - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    my neighbor’s half-sister makes $75 /hour on the computer . She has been fired for eight months but last month her payment was $17951 just working on the computer for a few hours.
    visit. >>>>>>

    • thebadguyswon - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      She makes $70/hour letting me bone her.

      • cubfan531 - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:48 AM

        Not a bad deal at all.

  5. holleywood9 - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Just another price for having Scotty B as ur agent

    • stex52 - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      Disagree. See my note above. If Boras goes for top dollar, it is only because his clients want it.

      I’m no fan of Boras. But clients know what they want when they hire him.

  6. Black Dog - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    On the other hand, he misses out on a month of at-bats against big league pitching, which could speed his development and make him a better player faster. This is exactly what Soler and Baez are getting,
    What if the Cubs are a surprise contender next year, as all their young talent hits their stride at once? Keeping Bryant off the team might turn out to be the move that cost them a run at a wildcats spot.
    If I’m the GM, I think hard about sending this message to the young players in my organization: The better you play, the more it’ll cost you.

    • mazblast - Sep 3, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      What is a “wildcats spot”? Is that the too-high seeding the U of Kentucky gets every year in the NCAA tournament?

  7. The Dangerous Mabry - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    I would have thought he’d figure out this game was a business when he got a $6.7 million signing bonus to play it. That should probably have been a solid clue, anyway.

  8. erbaodai - Sep 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    He already learned it’s a business when he picked BorA$$ as his agent.

  9. watchfullhose - Sep 3, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    It’s service time, but also their 40 man is stuffed with young players who probably wouldn’t pass waivers. They load up on lottery tickets like Jacob Turner and the 40 man becomes a limiting factor in what they can do

    Sep 3, 2014, 2:13 PM EDT
    my neighbor’s half-sister makes $75 /hour on the computer . She has been fired for eight months but last month her payment was $17951 just working on the computer for a few hours.

    So, what your telling us is that your sister is a no-good, lying, cheating, pathetic excuse for a human being (that can’t hold down a decent job)?

    • tearlw - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      She can, however, rock a webcam.

  10. mazblast - Sep 3, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I’m not all that keen on these September callups to begin with, as a lot of the pitchers these kids will face are the same ones they’ve faced in AAA most or all of the year. Bryant and his peers probably will face as much major league pitching in spring training.

    And as others have pointed out, it’s not as if the Cubs need Bryant’s bat this month to contend for a playoff spot.

  11. stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    This kid really seems to have his head on straight. It’s gotta’ be tough. But he certainly isn’t portraying that feeling to the media. That alone speaks volumes.

  12. Homesforsaleinfriscotx - Sep 9, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Who among the young hitters gets traded for pitching? Or for Giancarlo Stanton? Can you imagine Stanton in Wrigley? Two of the Soler/Bryant/Baez trio might be enough to get Stanton, but I doubt the Cubs do anything but concentrate on the mound from here forward. The position players look formidable for the next 6-10 years. If an ace can be developed or traded for, the Cubs are going to be for real, real quick.

    • erbaodai - Sep 9, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Probably Soler, Russell and Bryant is needed to get Stanton. Baez is too risky.

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