PHILADELPHIA – More than a year after a service-time grievance was filed on his behalf by the players’ union, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said he’d forgotten the other player involved in the filing.
“I completely forgot my situation, too,” said Bryant, who took the field Monday night with that other player, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, “because it’s so far in the past for me.”
In more ways than one.
Technically, the grievance over manipulation of Bryant’s and Franco’s service time (to assure their clubs additional control over the players) is still pending, but has not been scheduled for a hearing. It’s expected to be addressed as part of this year’s collective bargaining negotiations.
Bryant became the union’s poster boy for the issue after a minor league player of the year season in 2014, a monster spring in 2015 and — after the exact number of days in the minors to preserve an additional year of control for the Cubs — a Rookie of the Year season.
But he says the issue “never even crossed my mind” as he focuses on the Cubs’ big plans this season.
Since that All-Star rookie season, he already is the early leader in All-Star voting at third base — having actually played five positions this season for the team with the best record in the majors.
His multi-hit effort Monday night included a run-scoring double in the first that missed being a home run by a foot or two (and/or the interference of a fan in Cubs gear).
Bryant said he has long put thoughts of the grievance out of his mind.
“For me it’s just important to continue to go out there and do what I do,” he said, “so that I can help the team in any way possible in where we’re at today. It’s just important for me to not even worry about it right now because it tkes away form so much of what we have going this year. And that was last year’s news.
“We’re on to bigger and better things.”