Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has lost his service time grievance case against the team and will not become a free agent until after the 2021 season, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan and MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
The case stemmed from the Cubs' decision to call up Bryant to the majors on April 17, 2015, which was two weeks into the season. He ended up spending 12 days in Triple-A Iowa. If Bryant was called up before that day, he would have had a full year of service and his free agency would have come a year sooner. Bryant's team was hoping to prove that his .425, nine home runs and 15 RBIs in 40 at-bats in spring training were enough to warrant an Opening Day roster spot. The Cubs started the year with Mike Olt at third base.
As noted by Passan, players hit free agency as early as six full years of service. Bryant will have six years, 171 days of service when he hits free agency after the 2021 season.
The grievance was filed after Bryant's rookie season, according to ESPN. The 2016 National League MVP hit .282 with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs last season. He is a three-time All-Star and was a crucial member of the 2016 team that won the World Series and ended a 108-year drought.
Bryant's name has been part of many Cubs trade rumors and now his trade value is enhanced with two years of team control remaining. The Cubs remain contenders in the National League Central Division but have made changes to the roster after finishing third in the division last year. The team parted ways with manager Joe Maddon and brought back former catcher David Ross as his replacement.