By Travis Duncan
—How many mediocre MLB’ers have started the season on the Chicago Cubs 25-man roster in its history of relative mediocrity?
Great traditions-but not a hoard of legendary players have donned the red white and blue on the north side.
Would it be so bad to strike while the iron is hot; ride the wave of positive feelings towards your franchise and place Kris Bryant on the MLB team Day 1 in 2015?
It wouldn’t be. But the Cubs did not back down from Bryant nor his agent’s preference that the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball be with the Cubbies next week.
Instead, Monday afternoon, the Cubs made it official.
Bryant has been optioned to minor league camp along with Addison Russell while Javier Baez has been sent to Triple-A Iowa.
That oomph you hear is the punch to the gut of the Cubs nation.
Cubs GM Theo Epstein has not done a whole lot to defend his position other than to say he has never started a player with zero MLB experience with the big league club in all his time as an MLB GM.
He said Tuesday, “It’s always difficult to send young players down because it is news they don’t want to hear,” via ESPN Chicago.
“We entered camp with the presumptive move of sending him to Triple-A, and it is always the presumptive move for us with young players who haven’t played in the big leagues yet. You see how camp develops and how the roster shapes up to see if there is grounds for an exception to the rule.”
The Major League Baseball Players Association responded by stating “Today is a bad day for baseball” and that the issue will be addressed either in court or through bargaining. And further went on to claim that the Cubs made the decision early on before Bryant’s hot spring training and instead of changing course based on the results-they are sticking with their initial decision.
The Full Text of the MLBPA statement is as follows:
Today is a bad day for baseball. We all know that if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest Players to play our great 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.
Meanwhile Cubs manager Joe Maddon diplomatically said that he would have liked to have Bryant in his lineup but is looking forward to working with the 23-year old for the next 15 years.