Scott Boras on Kris Bryant not making Cubs’ roster: “Do they really want to win here?”

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Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant has six home runs in nine Cactus League games this spring. He’s produced a 1.804 OPS and 30 total bases in 26 plate appearances. And yet the 23-year-old is not going to be on the Opening Day roster for a team that hasn’t won a World Series title since 1908 because the Cubs pretty much have to play the service time game.

If the Cubs hold off on promoting Bryant until April 17, they can delay his potential free agency an extra year — from 2020 to 2021. A whole year of control for an easy 10-game delay. It’s a no-brainer.

But that isn’t sitting well with one biased party — Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras. He put out a challenge to the Cubs on Tuesday as part of a “30-minute rant” to Bob Nightengale of USA Today

“You are damaging the ethics and brand of Major League Baseball,” Boras said. “Kris Bryant has extraordinary skills. Kris Bryant is a superstar. He has distinguished himself from all players at every level he’s played.

“Everybody in baseball is saying he’s a major-league player ready for the big leagues. I have players call me. Executives call me. The Cubs’ people want him there. Everyone says, ‘They cannot send this guy down.’ It’s too obvious.

“This isn’t a system choice. This isn’t a mandate. This is a flat ownership decision. Do they really want to win here?”

Bryant batted .325/.438/.661 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games last season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He’s ready. But if the Cubs think Bryant is going to be a star — like Boras and everybody else does — the only move under the current system is to get that extra year. There’s still a big pot at the end of the rainbow for Boras and his client. Ben Badler of Baseball America put it succinctly

Grudge continues to fester between Braves, Marlins

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The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.

In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.

Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.

Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.