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In 2012, Mike Trout was the best baseball player. He was so good that his delayed call-up to the Angels—for, it should be noted clearly here, completely non-service time reasons, but legitimate and honest concerns about his ability to produce after a difficult offseason (healthwise) and an interrupted spring training—might have even cost the Angels a spot in the postseason. He was so, so, so, so, so good.

And he entered 2013 with a) options, meaning he could technically have been sent down to the minors and b) 1.070 years of service time, which means that if he had been sent down for (by my math) 24 days, the Angels would have controlled him for an extra season.

Correction: My reading of his service time was wrong. He'd have had to have been sent down for 70 days—that's what the number after the decimal point refers to—which clearly changes the specifics here and moves Trout's case into more of a hypothetical, rhetorical arena. I think you can keep reading the article without harm, but there are substantial differences between the Bryant service time math and the hypothetical Trout service time math. You could also use 2014 Jason Heyward as the stand-in for Trout. Or Jacob deGrom. Thanks, Craig.

This is an article Dave Cameron wrote, probably the best I’ve read breaking down the math and the stakes of the Cubs’ decision with Kris Bryant:

They are in essence trading roughly 10 games of 2015 value in exchange for a full season of Bryant in his prime, and while the Cubs clearly want to win this year, no player is so great that missing 10 games would meaningfully alter a team's expected results. Even Mike Trout, clearly the best player in baseball, is only expected to add about half a win to his team's ledger every 10 games, and Bryant is no Mike Trout. Even an optimistic projection for Bryant would have him adding maybe a quarter of a win to the Cubs' season total if he started in the big leagues versus being held down for a few weeks. Baseball isn't basketball; one guy matters only so much.

You don’t remember this conversation about Mike Trout before the 2013 season, because nobody had this conversation about Mike Trout before the 2013 season. That’s because if you had recommended sending Mike Trout to the minors—the best player in baseball, on a competitive team, after he had just produced a 10-win season—you would have been called a drunkard and a fool. Imagine! Just imagine!

And yet, you’d be making the same case that the Kris-Bryant-To-Triple-A argument depends on: Baseball teams operate on a long timeline, and sometimes reaping large gains later justifies taking smaller hits now, even if it comes at the expense of a player’s seemingly justified earnings.

Why do we consider one conversation acceptable and one unacceptable?

Trout is better than Bryant.
But this basically comes down to that old “We have established what you are, madam” line. It doesn’t matter whether Trout is better than Bryant; it matters whether Bryant is better than the alternatives on the Cubs. If he is, and we still defend his assignment to Triple-A, then we are saying that it is acceptable to send the better player down for service time manipulation. A widely held belief. If we are saying that it is acceptable to send the better player down for service time manipulation, then it would apply wherever it applies—even, potentially, with Trout in 2013.

I haven’t seen anybody really argue that Bryant isn’t better than the alternatives for the Cubs.

Sending down Trout would have cost the Angels more, in present-day performance, than it will likely cost the Cubs.
True! Trout is better, and more likely to produce wins and WARs than Bryant is. But he’s also likely to be better in year seven than Bryant will be, which means the gain at the end of this gambit is greater, as well. And if the math works, and if we're beholden to the math…

It just looks worse.
Ah, and this is it. It looks so much worse to send down Trout. The Cubs have defended a Bryant demotion using plausible—if, to me, unlikely—explanations: He still has work to do (on defense, versatility); and he might suffer from the pressure of being on an Opening Day roster. To the latter we might simply point out that this is what September call-ups are for; to the former we might sniff unimpressedly, and counter that there is always something about a player’s game that a front office could claim needs work. In either case, though, there is plausibility to it; with plausibility, the non-cynical parts of our characters must allow that decisions are complicated and maybe, just maybe, there’s more to it than we see. It also provides defense against more legalistic remedies, like union complaints involving binding arbitration.

But while this last one provides an explanation for why the team feels confident in making the Bryant decision while never entertaining the Trout option, it doesn’t explain why many fans support sending Bryant down but wouldn’t support sending Trout. If we, the fans, can ace the marshmallow test with Bryant, why do we gobble up the now marshmallow with Trout?

This, I don’t know. I’d like to think that, somewhere in our souls, there is a rejection of a do-anything approach to winning. As I wrote about last winter w/r/t the Astros, there is a point where we declare lawyerball to have gone too far. When a player or team figures out a strategy that is distasteful, boring, undefensible, or simply tacky, we change the rules to outlaw it, we (or they) institute unwritten rules that become in their own way binding, or we collectively vote with our wallets and feet. There are likely all sorts of ways a winning-obsessed club could gain small competitive advantages—forfeiting any game in which their win probability dips to zero, for instance, would save the bullpen and prevent injuries—but even winning-obsessed clubs are only comfortable going as far as we let them, or as far as they personally feel ethically justified in doing.

It seems clear to me that this is a rule-following that borders on rule-breaking, except the rule that prevents it hasn’t been written yet (and would likely have its own loopholes, anyway). Nobody likes that clubs can do this, though given that roughly 29 other teams do it we tend to support our teams when they do it, too. The rule could be changed, but in absence of rule changes it’s still within our power as fans to shame clubs for it. I don’t deny that the Cubs are making a smart decision; I don’t deny that, if I were the GM, I would make the same decision; I don’t deny that the Cubs front office should sleep just fine with this move. They might even be irresponsible if they didn’t do this. They are smart!

But, because they are smart, we are unhappy, just like we would be unhappy if they forfeited a game in the fourth inning. The Bryant decision makes baseball worse for us,

it’s an obviously unfair situation for a young man who has had his leverage taken from him for no great reason, and if the loophole were closed it wouldn’t create any significant shift in the competitive balance. It serves nothing. In lieu of a rule change, it’s okay for us to shame teams for it. A Mike Trout demotion was never talked about because to do so would have raised such a shaming that it would have overwhelmed the Angels. How things look matters to these decisions, and how we react matters to how they look. If we quit talking about how smart the Cubs are for this decision and instead complained about how unhappy it makes us, if we shamed them for observing the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the game, this conversation might quit happening. And we’d get what we want.

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WaiverWireKing
3/30
The cubs need to do what all other teams do. Sign him him to a 8 year deal, Problem fixed.
bhalpern
3/30
I'm wondering about the flip side of all of this, specifically as it relates to Scott Boras and innings limits (ignoring the fact we have no great proof these work). Just one example linked below but Boras certainly doesn't mind when teams have limited innings for young pitchers to the potential detriment of teams' current day performance. This doesn't invalidate any of Sam's logic in this article but forgive me for not feeling sorry for Boras and Bryant when if the situation was reversed they'd do exactly the same thing. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/scott-boras-on-his-nationals-influence-and-stephen-strasburgs-innings-limit/2012/08/23/39c4c3f2-ed61-11e1-9ddc-340d5efb1e9c_blog.html
bhalpern
3/30
Sorry, that shouldn't have been a reply but a new comment.
walrus0909
3/31
That's a different scenario, though: a pitcher doesn't reach free agency when he's thrown 1,000 innings. In that case, Boras's interests and the club's happen to align, because both are trying to protect their investment. I can't think of an exact parallel, but if Kris Bryant were a pitcher, Scott Boras wouldn't have any problem with the Cubs limiting his innings*; Boras would, however, have a problem with his assignment to Iowa even though he's better than their fourth starter. * - And I agree that innings caps seem pretty useless but that's neither here nor there.
Maddog31
3/31
Boras is interested in what makes him more money. His players staying healthy makes him more money, just as his players reaching free agency sooner does. Scott Boras only cares about what is best for Scott Boras.
chrisgoddu
3/31
I think that Scott Boras gets a lot of bashing. Perhaps it is justifiable, perhaps not. But, I view this as Boras advocating for what will make his client more money. For Bryant, that is getting to free agency sooner. For a pitcher, it is staying healthy and away from arm injuries. The issue really is the CBA. It allows for this type of behavior and until that changes I don't see any reason for clubs not to behave this way. Granted, they need some baseball excuse to send Bryant to the minors, but that is easy enough to do. The MBLPA needs to do a better job in the next negotiating session. The recent article that shows that players are getting a lower percentage of overall revenue in baseball shows that the owners have been winning. The players need to negotiate better.
jnossal
3/30
Exactly. The hand-wringing is pointless. If Bryant rakes in the majors, whether now or two weeks from now, the Cubs are going to sign him to a long-term deal that makes fourteen extra days in the minors completely insignificant. On the other hand, if he runs into Mike Olt-like struggles, Chicago will be very glad they locked in that extra year of development at team-friendly terms. This is manufactured spring training drama. Teams signing young players to long-term deals largely makes moot the entire issue of service time manipulation.
BobBlasko
3/31
Something left out of this debate. Kris Bryant has made $6.7 million dollars before he ever stepped on a professional ballfield and faced a professional pitcher. The Cubs are acting prudently and appropriately within the collective agreement negotiated by the MLBPA. If he is the next one, more dollars will be available to to continue to make Boras the smug, arrogant and condescending "conscience of baseball" he pretends to be. If Bryant isn't, he will still have $6.7 million dollars he essentially did not earn.
BillJohnson
3/30
Cameron's line "while the Cubs clearly want to win this year, no player is so great that missing 10 games would meaningfully alter a team's expected results" gets at the heart of this, not by what it says but by what it misses. In a league with three fairly clear favorites to win divisions and then a vast sea of contenders for wild-card slots, ANY voluntary weakening of one of those contenders comes with great risk, particularly one right on the cusp of contention as the Cubs are. The marginal value of Bryant for those ten games is arguably greater for the Cubs than it would be for any other single team, because the one win (rounding up) they risk by not having him is more likely to be the margin between success (post-season slot) and failure than what any other team would risk in the same situation. Combine that with the fact that 2015 is a known quantity, while the Cubs of Bryant's walk year are pure speculation, and it seems obvious to me that they screwed up here ... but then again, they're the Cubs, you expect screwups.
apbadogs
3/31
The Cubs have a LOT of "ifs" to even be on the cusp of contention. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs win 90 games or lose 90 games this year.
Mikedaddy
3/30
Comparing Bryant's send-down to a hypothetical Mike Trout 2013 send-down is really meaningless. At the beginning of 2013, Trout was already the best player in baseball, as demonstrated by his results in major-league games over an entire season. Bryant is not the best player in baseball, he is just a prospect who might be that someday or might be something considerably less. Angels fans, baseball fans, etc. would justifiably go crazy if you sent the best player in baseball to the minors. Nobody has any justification to go crazy over a Bryant demotion until he proves himself against major-league pitchers over the course of a full MLB season. One of his fellow demotees is living proof that minor league and spring training numbers don't mean much at the majors.
collins
3/30
This was an excellent article. It reminded me of old Joe Sheehan columns.
eliyahu
3/30
I think the system sucks, and everyone knows that it sucks, and that the logical thing for the team to do is suppress his service time......which sucks. Given that starting point, there are two recurring things in this episode that annoy me above all others: 1 --Theo's ridiculous claim in the press, on the record, that this for developmental reasons, and hey(!), he did the same thing to other players on the Red Sox, so it *must* really be for "baseball reasons." 2 -- Mainstream journalists printing this without calling Theo out overtly for these comments
Jens521
3/30
He's only saying what he absolutely has to say, due to that suck system, he can't even speak more plainly about it, because then the MLBPA could file a grievance. So we all have to pretend.
oloughla
3/30
While I hear you that Theo comes across as disingenuous and condescending (don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining, Theo), I think it's kind of hard to fault him for saying what he needs to say in order to win any grievance filing that Boras files. Ultimately, it's the system to blame here, for incentivizing the Cubs to deprive us fans of one of the most exciting prospects in a while and to actively harm their short terms prospects of winning in the process. The funny thing is that I actually blame the union. If the union gave a crap about young players, this system would never exist, and the fans would in a position to actually see the best players play at the MLB level (gasp), rather than having to wait simply because the business of baseball has created a reason to hold prospects back. But instead, the MLBPA (like every other union) has prioritized the needs of its veteran members of its junior members, and in so doing they have given up any semblance of freedom that young plaers have in exchange for other concessions from the owners that benefit veteran players.
beeker99
3/30
I totally disagree w/r/t blaming the MLBPA. For starters, any minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster is not a member of the MLBPA - Bryant, for example, isn't on the Cubs 40-man roster. So for the most part, the prospects you refer to are not members of the MLBPA at all. Further, as Craig Calcaterra pointed out this morning at Hardball Talk, the MLBPA has negotiated plenty of benefits for all of its members, that apply to all future major leaguers, too. Young players may not have "any semblance of freedom" but they do have guaranteed contracts, an awfully high minimum salary, and the opportunity to earn more guaranteed money - be it through arbitration or a contract extension. Among other things.
oloughla
3/30
Yes, Bryant is not on the 40 man and as a result he is not in the MLBPA. But pointing out that the MLBPA has also negotiated benefits that apply equally to both veterans and young players is irrelevant to the point that they have negotiated significantly more benefits for veterans, including for starters, not giving away their rights for 7 years. Kris Bryant may not be in the MLBPA, but Mikle Trout is, and he would be several hundred million dollars richer if the union hadn't anniliated his free market well before he was ever a member of the MLBPA.
BarryR
4/01
What an incredible thing to say. Mike Trout wouldn't have a free market without the MLBPA. Before the union existed players had no free market once they signed their first contract. Even after the union was formed, they were still locked into the same team until Marvin Miller (helped by a legal decision) got them free agency. It took numerous fights by the union in order for the free agency they have today, one with no limits and no compensation, to exist. The MLBPA is not only the strongest union in sports (by a mile), but is probably the strongest union in America.
magua11
4/02
agree completely
Dodger300
5/19
You've got it completely ass-backwards. There never used to be any such thing as "Super 2" players. Arbitration never started until after the third year. The players union wanted to do something for the younger players. They tried to move the eligibility for arbitration up a year so that everyone finishing work th two years would qualify. The owners fought that, and the current Super 2 rules resulted from a compromise that allowed only some second year players to qualify for arbitration. Splitting the second year into two different tiers for the purposes of arbitration brought about the unintended consequences we have today. You don't have to be King Solomon to realize that splitting the baby with a sword was not such a bright idea. But you are dead wrong to claim the union sold out the younger players. Rather, they gained a partial win to help some of the year two players make more, sooner rather than later.
kcboomer
3/30
This specious reasoning seems to apply to team side of the equation. When a team sends out a player so the service time clock doesn't start they are greedy, manipulative, and being totally unfair to a deserving young man. All this rhetoric over something the MLBPA agreed to in collective bargaining. If the player doesn't like it he should take it up with the MLBPA. The clubs have a right to run they club the way they see fit provided it is within the law and the CBA, if any. It's called business. And they don't have to listen to the whinings of a bunch of people who have no skin in the game. If you hate this "service clock" thing then advocate the MLBPA to give up something else that the teams would rather have.
oloughla
3/30
"If the player doesn't like it he should take it up with the MLBPA." As a lawyer, I can tell you that the obvious problem with this statement is that Bryant can't take it up with MLBPA. He is not on the 40 man roster, and therefore he is not eligible to join the MLBPA. As a result, neither MLB nor the MLBPA could possibly care less about what he has to say. At the same time, minor league players that are not on the 40 man are bound by the CBA that the MLBPA and MLB have negotiated, despite the fact that they are not a part of either group. While they may seem ridiculously unfair, it is the law as upheld by the 2nd Circuit when the court ruled that Maurice Clarett was ineligible for the NFL draft because he was subject to age restrictions rules in place under the CBA between the NFL and NFLPA despite the fact that he was not eligible to become a member of the NFLPA. See Clarett v. National Football League. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1177&context=key_workplace
oloughla
3/30
I enjoyed the article, Sam, but would like to point out one additional justification for why people view this as okay in Bryant's case and not okay in Trout's hypothethical case. That justification is the potential argument that Bryant would benefit more from a developmental standpoint by getting additional at play at the AAA level versus the MLB one, and that he will turn into a better MLB player as a result. A person making this argument would likely point to Bryant's defense and his minor league K rates as weaknesses that he needs to work on in the minors. They would also likely point to the psychological aspect of the game and say Bryant might fall short of his ceiling if he is "rushed." (See http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9421798/carlos-gomez-aaron-hicks-risk-rushing-prospects-mlb) Personally, I think that entire argument is hot garbage and that the concept of prospects being rushed is greatly exaggerated. In my view, as long as they are relatively close, most players who have it in them to be quality MLB players (see e.g., Jose Fernandez) benefit more from the increased challenge of aggressive promotion than from languishing away in the minors while feasting on inferior talent, and potentially even developing bad habits because they aren't being forcing to make adjustments. Conversely, the players who are often cited as falling short of their potential because they were "rushed" (e.g., Aaron Hicks, Jesus Montero, Mike Moustakas) were never going to pan out anyway. But I do think it's necessary to address the point, nonetheless, particuarly given that this argument is what the Cubs are (disingenuously) citing as their reasoning behind the Bryant decision.
oloughla
3/30
Admittedly, you do touch on the point in third bullet but I don't think you really hit on the groupthink concept that some have developed over the years that rushing a prospect ruins the prospect, especially when those same people define "rushed" as simply not following the traditional but completely arbitrary promotion schedule that MLB teams and fans alike have drawn up over the years (one year at AA, one year at AAA, etc.)
lyricalkiller
3/30
Yeah, I think it's fair to allow the Cubs some sliver of trust that their explanations are made in good faith. I intended to make that point a little stronger: If they really believe the explanations offered, then I hope they're thick-skinned, good at ignoring us, and forgiving.
swarmee
3/31
They don't actually believe it either; they're doing it for the business reasons, but can't declare that openly. So they couch it in soft language that you as a reporter are supposed to understand and stop digging further. So call a spade a spade and move on.
schlicht
3/31
But … will 12 more days of work at the minor league level actually be adequate additional "development time"?
Muboshgu
3/30
I don't like that the MLBPA negotiates things that so directly impact minor league players, who they don't represent. That's a big part of the problem in my eyes. Many of the "concessions" MLBPA gives up impact minor leaguers, such as the slotting system in the draft and spending limits on international free agents.
oloughla
3/30
I wholeheartedly agree. The labor laws in this country should not allow this but they do, and it's really unfair.
swarmee
3/30
Huh? I do not shame the Cubs. I shame the union that approved the Collective Bargaining Agreement. They have had the ability to make changes to this clause multiple times, but care little for minor leaguers.
apbadogs
3/31
I remember reading an article not so long ago about how much (or shockingly little) the vast majority of minor league players are paid. It was eye opening.
qwik3457bb
3/31
The Cubs have every right to do what they're doing. They'd be stupid not to. I don't "shame" intelligent management, if it's within the rules, and this is.
sbnirish77
3/31
Can you answer the question of whether the Cubs can reset the clock on Javier Baez for a year if they send him down for 60 days to make up for the 60 he was up last year? If so it seems they can leave Baez down in the minors for the 60 + 13 days this year they could essentially reset him to the same service time as Bryant as of June 15. Keeping Baez down may do even more harm to the Cubs than Bryant.
jcutiger
3/31
Baez can't hit a ball, he should be in AAA right now figuring out an approach to hitting. I'm sure he'll be back up if he can hit.
matrueblood
3/31
Yes, the Cubs can get their year back if they keep Baez in Iowa long enough.
swarmee
3/31
Another smart business decision.
jcutiger
3/31
I believe the Cubs put a deal on the table to Boras right after Bryant was drafted. He sat on it for 60 days and then signed. That cost the Cubs 60 days of developmental time with Bryant. Was there an outcry then?
kalimantan
3/31
There's another reason why Trout wasn't sent down. In 2013 Trout was the best player in baseball. Its arguable that thats the best Trout will ever be. If you only get seven years of Trout, perhaps its best to get the 2013 Trout rather than the 2020 Trout. Sending him down would have been counter-productive regardless of service time.
Giffmo
3/31
Trout vs Bryant is absurd. First. The angels won 86 and 89 games in 2011 and 2012, respectively. They were already a very good team. The Cubs, no secret, have been awful and still were last year. Now I'm a Cubs fan so I'm as optimistic as the next guy about 2015, but that's all it is- optimism. The following positions are still big question marks for the Cubs: LF, RF, 3B, 2B. They are also carrying 3 catchers, limiting their bench and/or bullpen (they will have only one lefty reliever). Their bench is almost 100% unproven. And we don't even know what position Bryant will play when called up. Furthermore, you're comparing a true 5 tool player to a 3 tool player (arguably an optimistic assessment as there's plenty of scouts who doubt his hit tool) So it's only fair to put each player in his proper context. Adding a player who does everything amazingly well to a very competitive team. Vs Adding a player we expect to be very good, but still has some obvious weaknesses to his game to a team that is still likely only the 3rd best in the division. (And one could argue that even a very optimistic view of the 2015 Cubs is still only 3rd best) And a pessimist would point out that the Reds are only 3 years removed from a division title and are better right nowvthan the Cubs. IF ANYTHING, the more apt comparison to Trout is: If the Cubs are playing well in August, and in the hunt, do they call up Addison Russell? (Obvious stipulation that Russell continues on his current career arc applies)
dbdyer
3/31
The argument is completely backwards. It is saying that you simply bring up a player when he is better than the next best alternative. If that were the case, there are probably some kids in A ball on teams that should be in the majors. It totally ignores the development aspect. It isn't about the best available player on the roster at any moment, it is make sure that each player is the best that he can potentially be when he arrives. I don't entirely buy the development argument, but you can't just discount it. There is obviously a business aspect to it in delaying the service clock. The same as there is a business aspect when he reaches arbitration and Boras tries everything in his power to break the bank. The Cubs aren't a good example as they are a big market team, but "little" things like an extra year of control are a big deal to a lot of clubs. But, when they try to take advantage of a rule they are villified. Let's really boil this down to dollars and cents. What does delaying his promotion by one month do to Kris Bryant? He'll still reach arbitration a year early as a super two. At that point, assuming he pans out, he'll make millions per year. Dexter Fowler is making almost $10M (if my memory serves me correctly) as an arbitration case. A successful Bryant will make far more. The only impact to him is that he has to wait one more year before he goes and tries to get his $200M payday. I'm sorry if I don't feel sorry for him.
BrettLarter
3/31
Any chance this runs next to a companion piece arguing the opposite?
swarmee
3/31
I think the comments section have become the companion piece. ;-)
fbraconi
3/31
Top prospects who are allowed to find their groove in the minor leagues before being called up adjust better to MLB than those who start the season in a MLB lineup. That assertion is based on my casual observation over a period of time and has not been subject to any formal statistical analysis. But I think it would hold up to a statistical test, and so may represent an unintended consequence of the current rules that works to the advantage of the players and fans.
TGT969
3/31
The Pirates kept Polonco down for a while due to the same reasons the Cubs sent down Bryant: $ and defense. When Polonco came up he started like a house on fire, yet he was sent back when pitchers found his weaknesses. Can anyone say Bryant will be immune to that?
huztlers
3/31
What about the lack of trust this creates between Bryant and the Cubs? What about the lack of commitment to winning that this demonstrates? The idea that the Cubs will have a functional squad with a happy Bryant in five years may be flawed. There is a lot more going on here than team control and several million dollars. Would you want to play for the Cubs?
swarmee
3/31
Way overblown. This doesn't impact things. It certainly won't impact things six years down the road, unless you're still stewing over your third previous girlfriend when you're currently married with a baby on the way. Six years is a long time (and multiple contract renewals and arbitration figures in between). Whether Blowhard Boras thinks it impacts things; it doesn't. Bryant (as with all top-flight prospects) knows that he is needed on the team, and a valued member of their future.
Dodger300
4/01
You should have read Mike Piazza's book. It was a number of sleights and powerplays used against him over the years that made him determined never to sign a long term contract with the Dodgers. Why do you imagine that people forget when their employer drops on them? People surely remember.
apbadogs
3/31
Please.
BarryR
4/01
This has nothing to do with Bryant and everything to do with Boras. He doesn't believe in signing long term extensions. The Cubs know this, which is why that extra year of control is so important. Bryant will almost surely make more money with Boras as his agent, but this is the price he pays - two weeks in lovely Iowa.
apbadogs
3/31
Getting another year of control of Bryant vs not having him on the roster for about 10 games is a no-brainer despite the backlash. It's business, smart business.
beaversnkings
3/31
All of the hyperventilating over the Bryant situation is a bit silly, IMHO. The Cubs are well within their rights to do what they are doing. The MLBPA has consistently made this bed, essentially bargaining away real money that young players (that aren't members of the union) could make for the benefit of veteran players (who are members of the union). If I were more cynical, I might even posit that the MLBPA is gleefully and cunningly using the Bryant situation to develop a chip now that it will gladly cash in for more veteran goodies at the next CBA negotiation. Whether that's the connivance now, the smart money is that will be how it turns out. All that being said, as a Cardinal fan, I feel that I'm morally obliged to note that the Cardinals, in a similar situation, made the decision to bring Albert Pujols north in 2001, when he played 161 games, won the NL RoY Award, finished 4th in MVP voting, and led a 93 win team to the playoffs. . .
magua11
4/02
His leverage has been taken away for a very valid reason...there is an intensely negotiated contract that allows for this to occur. Getting an extra full year of service time at a savings of many millions of dollars is something that the average mere mortal fan ought to be able to comprehend and agree with...after all it is their money that is being spent...