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Boras questions why Cubs’ Bryant isn’t making nearly as much money as Sox’ Abreu

Updated: December 21, 2013 7:24PM



LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Recent changes in amateur-spending rules are downright un-American, said longtime agent and power broker Scott Boras during the winter meetings on Wednesday.

And look no farther than Chicago to see the problem, he said.

“What I’m mystified by is that major league baseball missed a great opportunity,” he said. “We have a player in [Cubs prospect] Kris Bryant that talent-wise, power-wise, and because of the skill set defensively, exceeds that of the first baseman [Jose Abreu] across town.

“And one gets near $70 million, and the American player gets $7 million. And if you don’t think something’s wrong with the system, that something’s wrong with the recruiting [incentive] of the game. …”

Strict spending restrictions on players subject to the draft – such as University of San Diego product Bryant – and international amateurs under age 23 took effect last year.

Bryant, the top power hitter in college, got $6.7-million, or roughly the amount MLB allotted for the Cubs’ No. 2 overall pick in June.

Because he’s 26 and from Cuba, Abreu was free to sign without restrictions, and the White Sox gave him a six-year, $68-million deal.

Boras, whose ability to get record bonuses for his clients over the years fueled the rules changes, said the restrictions hurt MLB as well as some of his clients such as Bryant – by decreasing incentive for top American athletes to play baseball, which has lost significant ground to other sports over the past two generations.

He wants to see the union look into what can be done about it, he said.

“When you have a power hitter and you have extraordinary talent, we want to tell all the young kids that there’s this big reward for you to play baseball,” Boras said. “And we have certainly said that they want to save money on entry, but it didn’t work because all the money they saved went to foreign players and the American players are not justly served.

“Ironically, in the same city, [Bryant and Abreu] serve the example of the injustice of the system.”

Worse yet, the caps took effect at a time the industry was growing past $8 billion in revenues, with each team getting more than $20 million annually in additional revenue this winter as part of the new national TV deals.

“When revenues grow, the first thing we should do is set up a system so that the entry level commitment is consistent with the grown in revenues and not while revenues are growing create caps that limit,” he said. “This is like research and development. We need to spend a proportion of money that has to increase as revenues increase, with research and development, or youth players.”

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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