After an arbitrator rejected a service time grievance filed by Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, the head of the MLB Players Association expressed disappointment and praised the slugger for being willing to challenge the team’s stance on the issue.
MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark issued a statement Tuesday after the ruling became official, leaving Bryant under Cubs’ control through the end of the 2021 season.
“The Players Association disagrees with the decision issued today in the Kris Bryant service-time grievance. While we respect the finality of that decision, we will continue to pursue any and all measures that incentivize competition, discourage service-time manipulation and ensure clubs field their best players. We applaud Kris’ courage and determination in challenging the Cubs’ actions and seeing the grievance through to the end.”
The grievance dates back to 2015, when the Cubs kept Bryant in the minor leagues to start the season. By doing so, and waiting two weeks to call him up to the majors, the Cubs were able to gain an extra year of service time, pushing his free agency date from 2020 to 2021.
That move was a controversial one, and ultimately Bryant and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Cubs, accusing the team of manipulating service time rules.
The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Cubs, setting the stage for a showdown between MLBPA reps and the league over the service time issue when the next round of negotiations begins on the league’s collective bargaining agreement.