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Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant has expressed the frustrations of many MLB fans when he criticized the current trend in the manipulation of service time by the teams with the best hopes of the match.
Sahadev Sharma from Athletic shared Bryant's reflections on the practice:
"It's awful, so awful, it's going to happen this year and it's going to happen every year, I could understand it if you go out and have a tough workout in the spring when you do not seem ready, but some people have put the time the off-season efforts to show up for spring training and prove they're ready to go, I think you should be rewarded for doing so. "
Bryant added that the custom is in accordance with the rules of the collective agreement, but that it amounts to exploiting a "loophole".
Bryant made his MLB debut on April 17, 2015 in the ninth game of the Cubs in the season. He would certainly have been part of the first day lineup in Chicago if the team had not been focused on preserving an extra year of control by the team.
Bryant is far from the only player to have experienced this.
Gleyber Torres and Ronald Acuna Jr. did not arrive at the MLB until April 22nd and 25th, respectively, during the 2018 season, when they were more than ready on the opening day. Torres finished third in the year 's rookie votes in the American League and Acuna was named a rookie of the year by the National League.
This year, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the most obvious example.
The third 19-year-old has hit .381 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs for the rookie league of the Toronto Blue Jays, the High-A, Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2018. Despite the success of Guerrero , Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters earlier this month that Brandon Drury would likely open his choke position in the hot spot.
Similarly, Eloy Jimenez has launched .577 with a base percentage of .384 in 108 Double-A and Triple-A games for Chicago White Sox affiliates in 2018. He wrote an article for the Player Tribune in August the jump to the majors. Jimenez, however, will almost certainly begin in 2019 with Charlotte Knights, the White Sox's Triple-A subsidiary.
Teams have a clear interest in maintaining the status quo. Bryant is in his second year of officiating and will not return to the market until 2022. The double-star would have been a free agent in 2021 if the Cubs had put him on their MLB players list for the first time. opening of 2015.
This extra year is valuable and it is hard to imagine that CEOs and team owners will change their tone without the issue being resolved in the next round of CBA negotiations.