Rozner: Bryant decision easy to understand

  • Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (77) takes batting practice during spring training baseball practice, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Mesa, Ariz.

    Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (77) takes batting practice during spring training baseball practice, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Mesa, Ariz.

Updated 3/31/2015 2:00 PM

When he broke up with the Red Sox, Theo Epstein thought he'd be starting a love affair with another large and sophisticated American city.

It didn't take him long to find out he'd been dropped smack dab in the middle of a cornfield.


At his initial news conference, he endured questions about his snappy appearance and whether his mother would have preferred he become a doctor or lawyer.

Only minutes later, he was outside being photographed beneath the world-famous Wrigley Field marquee … while being serenaded by Ronnie Woo Woo.

Why he didn't run for his life at that moment is probably the most interesting question of the day.

What isn't in question is why the Cubs returned Kris Bryant to minor-league camp Monday.

It has been expected since Bryant went on an extraordinary minor-league tear in 2014.

It is understandable that Cubs fans are disappointed they won't see Bryant sooner.

It is understandable when agent Scott Boras advocates for his client.

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It is understandable that the players association feigns shock and outrage.

And it is entirely understandable to all of the above that this was completely necessary and absolutely within CBA rules.

What is inexplicable remains the inability of some fans and media to understand the simple concept that having a player for seven years is better than having a player for six years.

Yes, seven is indeed better than six. Sounds pretty straight forward, and yet remains elusive for those who want to be Bryant in Chicago for Opening Day.

To suggest six is better than seven is merely abject stupidity, embarrassing contrarianism or pure public pandering.

Epstein was criticized for rebuilding a broken organization, which is now rebuilt and probably a year -- or less -- away from competing.


He was laughed at for selecting monster hitters when big-name pitchers were available at the top of the draft, and now one of those hitters is the fawning object of such affection that apoplexy is the theme of the day.

He was ripped for not spending money, which he instead saved for the likes of Jon Lester, Joe Maddon and a farm system that is now the best in baseball.

He was blasted for trading Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel last summer, when he supposedly didn't get enough in return.

Now he is praised for acquiring Addison Russell and Billy McKinney and re-signing Hammel.

He is praised for bringing in Lester and Maddon.

He is praised for drafting Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.

He is praised for his transparency while rebuilding a team, rather than having spent untold millions to lose hundreds of games.

Epstein must be able to see now why so many before him have tried and failed to win on the North Side, nearly always dumping the rebuild in favor of quick fixes that fix nothing and set the franchise back several years and hundreds of millions.

It is long past laughable now that some can't fathom the Bryant decision. It is inexplicable, indescribable and indefensible, unless your name is Scott Boras, and he is only doing what any good agent would.

Anyone else making that case only serves to humiliate themselves for reasons that absolutely defy logic.

Epstein must flee his office in horror some days at the madness of it all.

And wonder why he didn't run for the hills when he had his chance.

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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