Boras Reminds Of Difficulty In Trading Star Like Bryant

Kris Bryant remains open to contract extension talks with the Cubs.

Bruce Levine
November 13, 2019 - 6:35 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- Amid a 90-minute media session at the GM Meetings on Wednesday, powerful agent Scott Boras was asked a number of questions about the future of one of his high-profile clients, Cubs star third baseman Kris Bryant.

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The storyline is top of mind as the Cubs have embarked on an offseason that promises to be filled with change and one in which president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has declared that there are no untouchables on the team's roster. Does that mean Bryant could be traded?

Time will tell, but Boras reminded that history is a good indicator of what's to come.

"Any player who is really, really good and has a couple of years to go or one year to go or two years to go, these discussions always come up," Boras said. "They happen when they are not under contract for a long period of time. All that tells me is Kris Bryant is really, really good. Every player I have had of that talent level, they have always asked me will they or won't they do it (trade him)? The answer always is over a decade, how many get traded? The answer is very low. To get something back worthwhile, the percentages are very low."

A ruling on a contractual grievance filed on behalf of Bryant could also affect his future. The MLB Players' Association contends that the Cubs manipulated Bryant's service time back in 2015 by promoting him from Triple-A Iowa one day after he'd have accrued a full season of MLB service. The case has been heard by an arbitrator. Bryant is currently set to become a free agent after 2021. If the ruling goes in his favor, he'd be granted free agency after 2020.

Boras declined comment on the case, but he did respond to the service time practice in general.

"We are talking about asterisk on this situation," Boras said. "A lot of this has to do with the clubs having leveraged the first four or so years at minimal value. They have taken great advantage of it either in the case of Mookie (Betts) or KB. They won world championships with it. They then have to make a determination of a different aspect of a player's career and how they view them. I have seen teams take this decision on and it often has been a decision they regret either way -- trading the player or keeping them. Because they are great players, they are key decisions to make."

Bryant is aware of the grievance but not worried about it, Boras said. He also indicated the grievance and the ruling on it won't be a factor in him staying in Chicago or leaving.

"For Kris, it is just about getting ready to play and working with his teammates," Boras said. "This aspect of it I don't think has any effect on who he plays for or who he plays with. He certainly enjoys the city of Chicago."

The Cubs have tried to sign their young core players like Bryant to long-term extensions in recent years, with little luck outside of reaching a deal with right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Could Bryant sign a long-term extension with the Cubs this offseason?

"We are open to talking to them," Boras said. "We have always said that to them, and that has always been Kris's philosophy with the team."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.