Phil Rogers, Always Wrong
Phil Rogers is doing Phil Rogers things again. That is to say he’s getting things wrong. First, here’s what he said:
Because they’re an intelligent group that answers to their bosses, Epstein’s front office has had Bryant on a timetable to arrive in Chicago at some point after Opening Day next season. By keeping him in Iowa for a couple of weeks, they’d ensure that he wouldn’t accrue 172 days’ service time, which would mean the Cubs control his rights through 2021, not 2020. And by keeping him in Iowa the first two months, they could delay the start of his arbitration rights until after 2018, not ’17. It’s smart business to worry about those things, as the less you pay Bryant, the more you have to fill out the roster around him. But can you still be influenced by those concerns now? What happens if you send Bryant to Triple-A in April, promote him in early June and then wind up winning 86 or 87 games, one or two fewer than what would have put you in the postseason? Can you take that risk? Nope, you can’t. If Bryant is healthy and in form in Spring Training, he’s got to be in the Opening Day lineup.
We’ll leave it up to Brett at Bleacher Nation to explain why this is pure sophistry:
The troubling part about the article, which is otherwise an acceptable piece on Kris Bryant’s potential awesomeness and the coming Cubs, is the predicate for its argument that Bryant mustbe on the Opening Day roster. There is an acknowledgement that keeping him in the minors a couple weeks gives the Cubs an extra year of team control, followed by a discussion of holding him down until June to avoid Super Two status* … which is then the sole reason given in the piece for why Bryant has to be on the Opening Day roster (i.e., because June is too long to wait, and the Cubs might be competitive). If you find that a little confusing, you should. The article explicitly states that a couple weeks in the minors would give the Cubs the extra year of control, and then that possibility is completely ignored to set up the false choice of (paraphrased) “keep him down for several months and save a little bit of money, or do the right thing and put him on the Opening Day roster.” Those are not the only two options, and it’s not fair to the Cubs or to Bryant to ignore the vast chasm of possible call-up dates between Opening Day and June.
Phil Rogers has a long history of getting names and facts wrong at the Chicago Tribune. Glad to see he’s carried it over to MLB.com, a site that should know the rules a little better than the Trib.