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

Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games

Gregorius will wear a mask
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Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”

Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.

A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.

Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.

Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.