MLB Rumors: Kris Bryant and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to terms on a 7 year, $182 million deal, per reports. Bryant is also apparently getting a no-trade clause.
This is a move that is...unexpected, I would say. Bryant, 30, was rumored to be possibly non-tendered after a down 2020 season that saw him put up a 644 OPS for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs ended up holding onto him, though rumors indicated they were shopping him aggressively last offseason.
The decision paid off for the Cubs, as Bryant rebounded to have a solid season, and they were able to move him to San Francisco for Alexander Canario and Caleb Kilian at the trade deadline. Bryant ended up slashing .265/.353/.481 in 144 games, spending time at third base and the corner outfield spots and and putting up a 3.3 bWAR and a 3.6 fWAR.
It is kind of telling, though, that in Bryant’s triumphant resurgence, he was a 3-4 win player. Bryant was the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2015, and won the MVP in 2016. In his first three years in the league, he averaged around 6 wins per season. It seemed like Bryant had established himself as one of the league’s stars.
While Bryant still seems to carry something of star reputation, though, his performance hasn’t really matched that in recent years. He was a two and a half win player in 2018, in just over 100 games, then was a four and a half win player in 2019. That was followed by his awful 2020, and then his rebound in 2021.
The issue isn’t that Bryant is a bad player — far from it. He is still a solid above-average regular. But he seems to be slotted in the star tier among folks discussing this year’s free agent class, and he’s not been at that level for a while.
When you look at the projections, Kris Bryant profiles to be around a 3 win player in 2022. That’s a solid player. But for a 30 year old projected to be a 3 win player in the first year of a 7 year, $182 million deal...that’s bad:
For now, let's just say ZiPS projections Bryant to be a larger loss for the Rockies, in absolute dollars, than another Rockies signing we've talked about.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) March 16, 2022
But no more spoilers.
And that’s without even getting into the fact that the Rockies, just over a year ago, paid the Cardinals $51 million to take Nolan Arenado — a better player, and also a third baseman — off their hands.