Kris Bryant turned a bounce-back year into a massive payday. The former MVP has agreed to a seven-year, $182 million deal with the Colorado Rockies, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
Third baseman Kris Bryant and the Colorado Rockies are in agreement on a seven-year, $182 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 16, 2022
Rumors of the Rockies' interest had swirled since the lockout ended last week, but remained baffling given the team's rebuilding posture. The deal reportedly includes a no-trade clause — a particularly eyebrow-raising move for the franchise that traded Nolan Arenado away for a haul of prospects after giving him a huge extension.
Bryant spent last season with the Chicago Cubs until the San Francisco Giants acquired him at the trade deadline. In 144 games with both teams, Bryant hit .265/.353/.481 and helped the 107-win Giants surge to their first NL West Title in nine years.
That dream season ended with an NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Bryant did more than enough to re-establish his value going into free agency after a down 2020 season.
Because he was acquired at midseason, Bryant was ineligible for the qualifying offer, meaning there will be no draft pick compensation for the Giants or cost for Rockies.
The good with Kris Bryant: A big bat on offense and a Swiss Army knife on defense
The second overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft, Bryant was one of the top prospects in all of baseball entering the 2015 season, so much so that the Cubs' multi-week delay of his debut caused a fan uproar and MLBPA grievance.
Bryant more than delivered on the hype. He was basically the Cubs' chosen one, winning Rookie of the Year in 2015 and MVP in 2016 while leading Chicago to its curse-breaking World Series title. From the moment he threw the final out of that series, he was a Chicago institution.
Bryant's game has evolved quite a bit since then, going from a near-everyday third baseman to a full-on super utility man. He saw action at six different positions over the course of 2021: all three outfield positions and every infield position except second base.
Combine that defensive versatility with a bat that has been 32 percent better than MLB average by OPS+ in his career, and you have a player every team in MLB could use in today's increasingly position-less game.
The bad with Kris Bryant: His best years seem already behind him
The thing with Bryant is that there are very few things to dislike about his current game. You just probably shouldn't expect another MVP run.
Here are the first three seasons of the 29-year-old Bryant's MLB: .288/.388/.527 (141 OPS+), 94 homers and 18.7 bWAR in 457 games. Here are his last three seasons: .266/.360/.485 (122 OPS+), 60 homers and 8.2 bWAR in 325 games.
That certainly isn't a steep decline, but it's indicative that Bryant's best years seem behind him. It's been four years since he received any sort of MVP vote. He remains a very good player, but he never quite reached the sky-high hopes some had in mind when he was first starting out.
Bryant will also be 30 years old on opening day next year, so this deal is very much a bet on him aging well when some players start to fall off.