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

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.