Written by LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
The term grievance is not out of the ordinary to hear in the world of sports. In fact when Cubs rookie Kris Bryant was kept down in the minors after Spring Training last season, there was a great deal of speculation as to why. The number one reason being the numbers that Bryant gave during Spring Training rivaled that of the players already on the squad from last year. In the last 48-ours there have been grievances filed. YES plural.
As stated before, Kris Bryant was kept out of major league action for a certain amount of days to prevent his free agency eligibility from beginning. The proper term for this is “manipulating Service-time.”Front office staff reinforces their stance from May to today. On Monday, Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer addressed the grievance issue.
“We’ve known about this since May,” Hoyer said. “We have a great relationship with Kris. We feel like we were in the right.”
“This is something that will be handled through due process,” Hoyer said. “It was filed in May, and to the best of my knowledge, it sits in the same place that it has been.”
Due to the fact that Bryant spent the first eight games at Triple-A Iowa, he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season. He was called up on the first day after the deadline. This front office decision was a slowdown of the free agent process for Bryant. It also looked very obvious as the Spring Training numbers that Bryant was putting on the field were not worthy of being held down in the minors.
During that time back in April and May, Bryant’s agent Scott Boras shared his displeasure about the Cubs decision to keep his client down.
Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, was critical of the Cubs and claimed they were more concerned about money than winning.
“Cubs ownership has a choice,” Boras said. “Are they going to present to their market that they are trying to win? [Team owner and chairman] Tom Ricketts said they were all about winning.”
Bryant defended Boras’ comments and wondered why he couldn’t break camp with the big league club.
“I think the spring I’m having so far is putting me in a pretty good position,” Bryant said in March. “We’re told we can go out there and win a spot, and I really took that to heart at the beginning of spring. I came out here with a chip on my shoulder and wanted to play as hard as I can.”
Two things are certain. Kris Bryant is not alone in this particular grievance. Philadelphia Phillies Maikel Franco has similar issues with his front office and filed his grievance at the same time as Bryant. Second thing is that nothing was ever resolved and the off-season will be filled with drama for the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies.
But that is just one form of the grievances in the works. There is another form coming from the team in our nation’s capitol.
Former Nationals reliever Jonathan Papelbon has filed his own grievance against the organization for recovery of salary after he was suspended without pay for the remainder of the season. This was due to a dugout incident that happen on September 28th when Papelbon “choked out” fellow teammate Bryce Harper for lack of effort on the base-paths.
The grievance was filed shortly after the suspension was announced, and Papelbon lost $284,153 of his $13 million salary.
“That’s business. It’s not personal between Papelbon and the Nationals, or Nationals to Papelbon,” Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said Monday from the MLB winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
“The behavior exhibited by Papelbon is not acceptable,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement at the time of the incident. “That is not at all in line with the way our players are expected to conduct themselves, and the Nationals organization will not tolerate it in any way.”
In filing his grievance, Papelbon contends no precedent exists for a player’s salary being withheld during a team-imposed suspension, WEEI.com reported, citing league sources.
With the Nationals already looking for answers to the loss of Jordan Zimmerman, the off-season is loaded with drama that needs to get resolved quickly so the focus can go back to focusing on off-season improvements. Their collapse last season … and the season before that, is one crucial thing that must be addressed by this team. The grievance just adds more energy where it does not need to be.
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