Josh Hamilton and Kris Bryant
Rumor has the Angels trading Josh Hamilton to the Rangers in exchange for taking $15 million of the remaining $83 million owed to him. Hamilton back in Texas sounds just about ideal for everyone. There was a rumor of Shin-soo Choo going to the Angels, which would also make a certain amount of sense, given the large number of Korean Americans in greater Los Angeles and his incredibly poor performance in Dallas/Ft. Worth so far. However, this rumor has disputed by at least one source.
Apparently the MLB Players Association has waited a few days before asking Kris Bryant whether he wants to bring a grievance regarding be kept in the minors for eight games and eleven days to the start the season so that the Cubs could hold on to his rights for one more year even though he was clearly ready to be promoted for Opening Day.
I couldn’t find anything in the MLBPA Basic Agreement regarding this situation, and the Basic Agreement contains the following reservation of rights clause in favor of the owners: “Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to restrict the rights of the Clubs to manage and direct their operations in any manner whatsoever except as specifically limited by the terms of this Agreement.”
If the contract is silent regarding the teams’ rights to make decisions unilaterally regarding when they elect to promote the player, then teams should have the right to make these decisions unilaterally under the reservation of rights clause. It’s also been reported there haven’t been any previous arbitration decisions under the basic agreement addressing this issue. Thus, it looks like the owners would win in arbitration.
There’s also something to be said for Bryant trying to get along with the team with which he has to spend the next almost seven seasons. It’s obvious already that Bryant and his agent Scott Boras won’t be giving the Cubs any bargains here on out; and they will have four, instead of the usual three, rounds of salary arbitration, which could be very expensive for the Cubs if Bryant decides to go year to year or forces the Cubs to give him an extension topping what the Marlins gave to Giancarlo Stanton.
I certainly won’t feel bad if Bryant sticks it to the Cubbies if he develops the way it looks like he will.
As a final related note, I can’t see how leaving Bryant in the minors for eight games reasonably could have cost the Cubs more than one game in the standings. The Cubs went 5-3 before promoting Bryant and only one of those three losses was by fewer than three runs. Unless the Cubs miss the playoffs or fail to escape the one-game wildcard by a single win, leaving Bryant in the minors won’t have hurt the Cubs any.