(CBS) As the promotion timeline for prized third base prospect Kris Bryant has become a -- the? -- main storyline of Cubs spring training, his agent, Scott Boras, advised to not get so worried about the long-term concern.
If the Cubs wait a few weeks into the season to call up Bryant, they'll retain contract control of him through 2021 instead of 2020. Many view that as important because a belief in some baseball circles permeates that Boras advises his high-profile clients to hit the open market as soon as possible to create a bidding war instead of signing a long-term extension with their original team sooner.
While that's certainly often been the case for Boras clients, he rejected the notion that he ever advises clients to do that.
The decision, Boras said, is all the player's -- and it will be Bryant's when the time comes.
"Whoever wrote that, I've heard it a lot, it's just factually incorrect," Boras said in an interview with Barry Rozner on 670 The Score over the weekend. "I've had a number of players who have signed long-term contracts with teams prior to free agency. You know, I did it with the Atlanta Braves and Greg Maddux. He was in Atlanta for five years, signed for an additional five years before he was a free agent. It really depends on working out a relationship that's fair for both sides. I work for people. I'm a lawyer, and I represent players. I certainly invite players to tell me their need and wants. So I provide them with information and try to facilitate those goals.
"A lot of times when you have high-profile players -- in Max Scherzer's case, the (Tigers) came and offered him (144) million dollars, and I guarantee that 99 percent of the world would have said, 'Why would Max not sign that?' And it's because I gave Max information that the market for him was dramatically different than that. And it's his choice.
"Many players would've signed the contract. Max's objective was certainly to pursue his true value in the current market (he signed a $210-million deal with the Nationals). And that's really what the attorney does for a player. He gives them choices, and the player directs him to what choice he wants to make."
That said, there's no doubt where Boras wants Bryant to be for the Cubs' April 5 opener against the Cardinals -- manning third base at Wrigley Field. He again stumped for Bryant to make the team out of spring training.
The Cubs traded third baseman Luis Valbuena to the Astros in the offseason.
"Service time manipulation, I think, happens to the detriment of the game," Boras said. "And when it does so particularly with players of great impact, I just don't think it's good for the interest of the game and the fans who come out to support their teams. I think everybody there wants the Chicago Cubs to be a competitive team, and they haven't been one for a while. If the team was to lose by a few games and not have the benefit of their best players, there would be a lot of regret and a loss of a lot of integrity to the franchise if they don't use their best players.
"My point is I think the integrity of the game requires the teams to put the best players that they have in the big leagues to allow them the greatest opportunity to win and advance."
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