A report from Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle suggests that the MLBPA and the agent that represents Astros prospect George Springer, Greg Genske, could file a grievance against the Houston Astros. At issue is if the Astros violated the CBA regarding its handling of Springer.
Now you might be asking why the MLBPA is even involved since Springer is not on Houston’s 40-man roster. The union is afforded the right to step in if it believes a team has potentially acted improperly in player relations.
A few days ago, it was reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the club extended a seven-year, $23 million deal to Springer last September. Springer declined the deal. This past Thursday, he was demoted to the minors.
And Rosenthal offers an extremely legitimate question: “If Springer was good enough to be offered $23 million, why isn’t he good enough to crack the 25-man roster of a team that has finished with the worst record in the majors in each of the past three seasons?”
File that under “food for thought”.
It does appear odd that the Astros were willing to extend the offer last year, but unwilling to let Springer begin the season with the big club. All Springer did at Triple-A last season was produce a triple slash of .311/.425/.626 with 18 HR and 53 RBI. He accomplished those numbers in 266 plate appearances. For his entire 2013 campaign between Double-A and Triple-A: .303/.411/.600, 37 HR, 108 RBI.
I know Springer had a lowly .161 batting average this spring. And I’m aware that the bat may be the only question mark with Springer. Allowing him to gain big league experience might be better off the the club, now and in the future. After all, that’s the path they provided for Jose Altuve. Altuve has never spent a day at the Triple-A level.
And Drellich adds this:
A matter of when a player is promoted requires at least some judgment of faith and intent, making it a particularly tricky matter, and one that is expected to be discussed in the next round of collective bargaining.
Even if the Astros did not act improperly per the letter of the law, the message this situation could send to young players on these may not be the best one.
There will always be concerns due “starting the clock” on a player, especially one as touted as Springer. I recall the same questions and thoughts about that clock revolved around the Cincinnati Reds and how they would handle Billy Hamilton. Hamilton was one of the Reds September call-ups and he dazzled on the basepaths. That clock started, but the Reds brass knew, at least in part after watching their prized prospect, what they had.
To one last point Drellich’s makes. The entire process can be lengthy. MLB player relations and the MLBPA will gather and exchange information about the matter at hand. There is a possibility an agreement can be reached after this stage. If no agreement can be reached, then a grievance is filed. An arbitration hearing will be scheduled.
Arbitration hearing, eh? Not sure we want to hear of another one of those for a while.