Baseball's most powerful agent understands why the Cubs sent his client, 23-year-old slugger Kris Bryant, down to the minor leagues to start the season—but he's not happy about it.
DAN PATRICK:If you were running the Cubs, would you keep Bryant in the minor leagues?
SCOTT BORAS: The issue is, this is not a baseball performance decision. This is an issue based on baseball control. I think the integrity of the game requires we have our best players on the field.
DP:But you can also say this is a long-term baseball decision.
SB: I can certainly say that other owners have managed this process differently. I believe the fans don't want to pay for tickets in 2015 knowing the best players are not on the field, knowing that [the plan] is something down the road that's going to help their organization seven years from now. The integrity of the game requires that we do not let advantages to individual clubs get in the way of the overall scope of what Major League Baseball stands for. The best players should play in the big leagues.
DP:Nobody can force a team to play someone.
SB: [Chicago manager] Joe Maddon should write his lineup card every day as he sees fit. That should be a managerial and an organizational decision on a daily basis as to who to play. However, it gets rather ridiculous. Why would you not play a guy who is so dominant?
DP:Does Bryant have a position?
SB: Of course he does. He's a league-average third baseman. He's very athletic. And he could certainly play the outfield if they so choose.
DP:He is not on the Opening Day roster. It's because ...
SB: I would say the opiate of player control. Teams often manipulate the rules and keep [players] down in the minors for a small period of time and then call them back up, and that gives them another year of control of free agency.
DP:How much do you want to know about your clients off the field?
SB: You do your best to know what's going to make a player optimal. I mean optimal in every aspect of his life. It's a difficult process. Each player has his own approach. You certainly don't want to do anything other than aid the player and let him live his normal life.
DP:Do you care that Alex Rodriguez was taking PEDs when you represented him?
SB: I never knew anyone that I represented had any involvement with anything like that [while with me]. We developed sports fitness institutes. We have our own training and medical staffs. We give players literature, and we educate them. We don't know everything, but we certainly take precautions. Our company has taken steps beyond what anyone else has.
2015 Hall of Fame inductee John Smoltz is concerned about how many young pitchers are getting Tommy John surgery. "This is not normal," Smoltz said. "I'm the first-ever Tommy John recipient to go into the Hall of Fame. I can make a very good argument that I'll be the last." ... Former NBA guard Steve Smith told me it's more important to get along with your teammates in college than in the NBA. "In college you're around each other so much," Smith said. "In the NBA, after two or three weeks he's probably going to get traded or I am." ... Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes used Lakers star Kobe Bryant's locker at Staples Center during the NCAA tournament's West Regional but said his idol left little behind: "Besides his wonderful aura and residue from him being so great? No, nothing other than that."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
JAMES DEVANEY/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (BORAS)
HEATHER AINSWORTH/AP (SMOLTZ)
JOHN AMIS/AP FOR DOVE MEN+CARE (SMITH)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HAYES)