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Kris Bryant loses grievance case against Cubs, won’t be a free agent until 2021

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 1/29/2020 Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 20: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs  at bat during the first inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on September 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) © Nuccio DiNuzzo CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 20: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs at bat during the first inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on September 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

It was no surprise that the Chicago Cubs prevailed in their grievance case Wednesday against Kris Bryant, keeping him under control for two years. 

But where will be spending his final years before agency?

The Cubs have been shopping Bryant all winter and finally there is clarity in his value with the 28-year-old unable to become a free agent until after the 2021 season.

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The Cubs have tried several times in the past to sign Bryant to a long-term contract extension, offering about $250 million at one juncture, but Bryant has resisted those overtures.

He now becomes one of three marquee players who could be traded before the start of the season, joining outfielder Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox and third baseman Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies.

There were preliminary discussions over the winter with the Rockies involving a package centered around Bryant and Arenado, but no serious negotiations have taken place in recent weeks.

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Bryant, the 2016 National League MVP, certainly was hoping to win his grievance, testifying that the Cubs deliberately kept him in the minors for two weeks in 2015 to prevent him from reaching free agency a year early. He told the arbitrator that he was not only among the best 25 players in spring-training camp that year, but he also had the best performance. Yet, the Cubs also testified that the best 25 players rarely break camp with the major-league team, and that Bryant still needed additional seasoning.

So, they agreed to disagree, just as they’ve never been able to agree on fair compensation for a long-term deal.

All we know now is that Bryant will earn $18.6 million this year, and will be eligible for salary arbitration one last time.

Which team will be paying him remains to be seen.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kris Bryant loses grievance case against Cubs, won’t be a free agent until 2021

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