ST. LOUIS – Forget about seeing Kris Bryant in a Cub uniform this September. General manager Jed Hoyer quickly dismissed that rumor floating around Twitter.
“Nothing’s changed on that front,” Hoyer said.
Still, Bryant and super-agent Scott Boras have to be wondering: Why not? What else is left to prove at Triple-A Iowa?
While Jorge Soler and Javier Baez enjoy life in The Show and get a jump on 2015, Bryant’s season will end on Labor Day in Des Moines, despite being the game’s No. 1 or No. 2 overall prospect, depending on whether you go with the ESPN or Baseball America list.
Soler’s two homers traveled 851 feet combined during Friday night’s 7-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, while Baez put the Cubs ahead with a two-run double in the eighth inning. The Plan doesn’t have room for Bryant now.
As the second pick in last year’s draft, Bryant isn’t on the 40-man roster yet and the Cubs can try to delay his free-agency clock. But otherwise the 22-year-old third baseman has checked all the boxes, hitting .328 with 43 homers and 109 RBI combined at Iowa and Double-A Tennessee.
“He’s not on the roster, so right away that would knock another player off the roster,” Hoyer said. “We’re going to be really tight on the roster (this winter). We feel like in his first full season, he’s going to get 140-plus games. He’s played exceptionally well.”
Soler hasn’t experienced a full professional season yet – and he played only 54 games above the A-ball level before this week’s promotion – but he’s in the middle of a $30 million major-league contract.
Cub fans will have to wait until next year to watch Bryant in the middle of a powerful lineup built around Soler, Baez, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo (who’s day-to-day anyway with a tight back). Bryant hasn’t gone into an extended slump or struggled with all the hype and expectations.
“The most impressive thing about his season has been the consistency,” Hoyer said. “He deserves a lot of credit for being able to make adjustments quickly. He’s very levelheaded as a person, so I don’t think he gets too down.
“We haven’t really wavered on (this decision). We feel like it’s the right thing for him in his first full season, not (being) on the roster. We’ll enjoy the guys we have up here right now.”
So the Cubs are keeping Bryant down, an issue that will be worth watching when Boras Corp. also represents potential Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta, 2012 first-round pick Albert Almora and Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, the prospects acquired from the Oakland A’s in the Jeff Samardzija trade.
“We’ve got a really good relationship with Kris, and obviously with Scott as well,” Hoyer said. “A lot of our young guys are Boras guys (and) we’ve got a good relationship with them. We talk to them all the time. That’s not the reason or a concern.”