The Chicago Cubs demotion of Kris Bryant triggers little-known ‘poison pill’ clause in his contract: Cubs now are required to carry his agent, Scott Boras, on the roster until such time as they promote Bryant to the big leagues.
Earlier this week, the Cubs demoted the 23-year-old slugging third-baseman, Kris Bryant, to the minor leagues, despite a torrid spring that saw him lead the team with a .425 batting average, nine home runs, and 15 RBIs in just 40 at-bats.
Under the terms of MLB’s collective bargaining agreement, if Bryant spends 12 or more days in the minors, Chicago would delay the uber-prospect from becoming eligible for free agency by one year, until after the 2021 season.
The decision caused much controversy. The MLB Players Association, who negotiated and agreed to the collective bargaining agreement, not only criticized the move, but threatened to move forward with baseless litigation:
“Today is a bad day for baseball,” the Major League Baseball Players Association said in a statement. “I think we all know that even if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest players to play our game, and perhaps he will be before it’s all said and done, the Cubs still would have made the decision they made today. This decision, and other similar decisions made by clubs will be addressed in litigation, bargaining or both.”
Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras piled on, stating in a text message to the Associated Press that this was “ersatz baseball:”
“MLB is not the MLB without the best players. Kris excelled at every level and earned the right of entry. The CBA is at the apogee of wrongs incentivizing clubs to create a product less than best. Bryant’s situation is the badge for change to the CBA player service structure.”
The man who convinced the Texas Rangers to pay $252 Million to Alex Rodriguez is as smooth as he is persuasive. Unbeknownst to most, super-agent Scott Boras, has worked behind the scenes to press the Cub’s into a different decision. His leverage? Himself.
What Boras did not say in his public statement was that when he negotiated Bryant’s contact he put in a largely unnoticed ‘poison pill’ provision that mandates that if Bryant hits certain spring training performance metrics and is not called up to the big leagues, Boras himself must be rostered in his place.
As of now, the Cubs are calling Boras’s bluff, effectively using him as the centerpiece to their ersatz baseball team. According to GM, Theo Epstein, the 62-year-old lawyer who was a walk-on baseball player at Pacific University in 1972, is slated to back-up all three infield positions:
“This is hardball, Scottie. Let’s play two.”
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Branimir Kvartuc
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