The Chicago Cubs are already making headlines because of their reported decision to hire David Ross as manager, but one of the team’s big stars is making headlines for a completely different reason.
According to David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago, Major League Baseball and the Cubs will meet this week to discuss a grievance filed by third baseman Kris Bryant and the MLB Players Association over the team’s handling of his call-up and big league debut in 2015.
During that season, the Cubs started Bryant in the minor leagues for the first two weeks of the season, then called him up on April 17. By doing so, the Cubs ensured that they would get an additional year of contractual control over Bryant, pushing his free agency date back from 2020 to after the 2021 season.
If Bryant ends up winning the grievance, then he could potentially become a free agent after the 2020 season instead in a decision that would have wide-ranging impact on not just the Cubs, but on the sport of baseball as a whole.
Bryant’s free agency date lines up with the expiration of the contracts of first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Javier Báez, and the team set up its current contention window so that they would be able to potentially clear decks and bring in new talent all at once, rather than have to deal with contract negotiations for each player in different years.
If Bryant wins his grievance, then he could potentially hit the market next year instead, moving up the Cubs’ timetable and potentially increasing the possibility that he’ll be traded if he doesn’t agree to a contract extension with the team.
Last fall, it was reported that Bryant turned down a multi-year contract that would have paid him $200 million.