Threat Level Boras: Agent and MLBPA Talk Big in Wake of Kris Bryant Assignment
It wasn’t all that long ago that I had hoped for the jaded brilliance of the inevitable Scott Boras response to the Cubs’ decision to assign Kris Bryant to minor league camp. Well, we didn’t have to wait long to get just that. But like an unannounced BOGO sale, we were blessed with some blustering from the MLBPA too. Oh happy day!
I understand how awful this must be for non-Cubs fans, as it’s mind-numbingly frustrating for those of us who’ve been paying attention this whole time. Is it wrong then that I still take some measure of perverse joy out of this whole thing? That goes double for those bleeding heart idealists who continue to rail on about the legal ramifications for Theo Epstein and the Cubs.
The best part of all of this is that everyone knew it was coming. We all, every one of us, had predicted this assignment. And yet, here were all are, dancing and jumping around like a box full of cats as a little light plays on the floor before us. I’m a bit tired from all that activity, but I’m not above grabbing a mirror of my own and shining a light on some of what was said.
First, let’s take a look at the only man in baseball more quotable than Joe Maddon, as narrated by Jon Morosi:
Asked Scott Boras for his reaction on Kris Bryant demotion. His response: “‘Ersatz Baseball.’ MLB is not MLB without the best players.”
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 30, 2015
More Boras: “Kris excelled at every level and earned the right of entry. The CBA is at the apogee of wrongs incentivizing clubs . . . ”
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 30, 2015
” . . . to create a product less than best. Bryant’s situation is the badge for change to the CBA player service structure.” — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 30, 2015
Ersatz? Apogee of wrongs? That’s gold, Scotty, gold! I wonder what Rob Manfred thinks of all this. Well, as luck would have it, baseball’s commissioner spoke about just that on Friday.
“Look, I don’t think the Cubs’ decision with respect of what’s going to happen with Kris Bryant is really any of Mr. Boras’ business.”
He’s heating up!
“I think the Cubs — I know the Cubs — will make decisions that are best for the long term competitiveness of that club, and focusing on whether a particular player has played, or (is) with a club on a day, or days, I don’t think is a fair evaluation of what the club is up to.”
He’s on fire!
“The club is in the best position, and the Cubs are in the best position, to decide what’s going to make them the most competitive over the longest period of time.”
I would, however, like to commend Boras Badenov for not directly blaming Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, or the Cubs for this whole situation, which is a bit more restraint than the MLBPA showed in channeling Bobby McFerrin’s landlord.
Today is a bad day for baseball. We all know that if @KrisBryant_23 were a combination of the greatest Players to play our great game,(1/3) — MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) March 30, 2015
and perhaps he will be before it’s all said and done, the @Cubs still would have made the decision they made today. (2/3) — MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) March 30, 2015
This decision, and other similar decisions made by clubs will be addressed in litigation, bargaining or both. (End)
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) March 30, 2015
So they threatened litigation, huh? Because make no mistake, that’s exactly what’s in that last tweet. Of course, the logic and structure of the whole thing leaves a bit to be desired, since Kris Bryant being a combination of the game’s greatest Players [sic] means that he’d actually have to be, you know, an active major leaguer.
One also has to question the motives of a union that is advocating for a player it does not yet represent (Bryant) to take a job from a player (Mike Olt) it actually does. And I’m no legal expert, but I have to think the concept of litigation holds even less water than IN governor Mike Pence’s defense of the bill he just signed into law. It appears I’m not alone in that thinking:
I wrote last week, the MLBPA’s Bryant litigation threat is not just dumb because they’d lose, but because it’s weak: http://t.co/3wi6O6taQK
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) March 30, 2015
A virtual gold mine of intelligently irreverent takes, Calcaterra is who I want to be when I grow up. Well, except for the glasses and the Indians hat. In his recent post on this same topic — Boras ranting, not his choice in cranial accoutrements — he wrote things that made me break the 10th Commandment.
I know a lot of people who have good non-everyday vocabularies — people who know TONS of fancy or seldom-used words but usually manage to speak like normal humans in day-to-day conversations — but who tend to revert to larger, sometimes even clinical or technical words when they’re angry, upset or otherwise emotional, etc. Almost as a defense. They’re people who don’t lose their composure often, so in order to not lose it when they may be close to it, go sort of clinical with their bad selves.
Lawyers are taught another thing too. When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. When neither is on your side, pound your fist on the table. Boras isn’t a fist-pounder, but he really has nothing better to do regarding Kris Bryant than pound his fist. And I bet he lectures anyone within earshot in the most hilariously stilted-language possible when he’s trying hard not to look like he’s pounding his fist.
I still hold that this is all a very public display in order to gain more leverage for the next bit sit-down around the bargaining table. While there are a few arguing vehemently that the Cubs are damaging baseball and are ripe for a lawsuit, most everyone viewing this through a wide-angle lens can see why it’s happening and understands that changes are needed.
This isn’t a new issue and it’s not a matter of the Cubs being evil or acting as though they don’t have any money. Because of the way the current CBA is structured, the Cubs will not be fielding what should, by all accounts, be their best team. Then again, it’s only for a couple weeks.
I am pretty sad that after missing out on Josh Magowan, the Cityachicago will now have to be without Chris Brian too, even the latter is just a temporary deprivation. This move may not be in baseball’s immediate best interest, but the Cubs feel it’s what’s best for the long-term good of the team and the game.
Besides, they needed the roster spot for Phil Coke.