According to ESPN, the Chicago Cubs will call up third baseman Kris Bryant from the minor league tomorrow:

Bryant is the highest-rated prospect in baseball, and by talent alone should have been the Cubbies opening day third baseman. But because of baseball’s convoluted free agency rules, he began the season in the minors.

Baseball players become free agents after they have six years of major league service time. A year of service time is considered to be 172 days spent on a major league roster, and there are 183 days in the baseball season. By keeping Bryant in the minors for just under two weeks, the Cubs have assured that in six years, Bryant will be juuuuuust under six full years of service time, delaying his free agency by a whole year.

Strategically, this was the right thing for the Cubs to do. If Bryant is as good as everybody thinks he is, sacrificing eight games without him in the lineup is a small price to pay for an extra year of team control while he is in his prime. But it is also undeniably shitty, taking advantage of the rules in a way that hurts Bryant through no fault of his own. But the beef here is with the system—and the CBA that the MLB Players Association negotiated—not the Cubs.

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Photo via Chris Carlson/AP


Contact the author at kevin.draper@deadspin.com.