5:25 pm: The deal includes an entire no-trade clause, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post (Twitter link).
5:22 pm: The Rockies agree with Chris Bryant on a seven-year deal worth $182 million, according to MLB Network’s John Heyman (Twitter links). The Colorados have made no secret of their desire for an expensive racket at free agency, and they have done so with their second-biggest off-season guarantee to date. Bryant is a client of Boras Corporation.
Bryant will step in as the new face of a chain that has been traded away Nolan Arenado and look Trevor’s story Hit free agency for the past two seasons. It’s the largest free agent investment in franchise history, and one that will tie the four-time All-Star to Denver during his 36-year season.
Entering the holiday season, few expected Colorado to make this kind of big spot. The Rockies have finished fourth in the NL West in each of the past three seasons, and they will appear at the 74-87 show in 2021. Some outsiders have called for Colorado to tear things down and commit to a complete rebuild, but the ownership and front office confirmed they don’t view the team as remote. Far from discord.
Since the start of the season, Colorado has been targeting a major offensive upgrade to their outdoor mix. The Rockies have reportedly scored his arrival with players like Kyle Schwarber And the Michael Konforto As well, but it turns out in recent days that Bryant was their target. Whether they’d spend on the level it took to reach it has been questionable, but owner Dick Monfort signed a seven-year deal with an average annual value of $26 million to bring in one of the game’s most recognizable stars.
Bryant, of course, gained that notoriety during his days with the Cubs. The second overall pick in the 2013 draft, he immediately entered professional ball as one of the game’s top potential players. Bryant fulfilled these expectations, tore up the palace for a season and a half. Cubs delayed his major league debut a few weeks into the 2015 season to delay his path to free agency by one season, but made his debut in mid-April and landed as a superstar.
The University of San Diego producer hit .275/.369/.488 with 26 home hurdles in his first season, earning this year’s National Junior League Trophy. Bryant directed a slightly disturbing segment that year, but significantly improved his production in contact during his sophomore year. The third base star hit .292/.385/.554 in 2016, won the NL MVP title and helped the Cubs to a season of 103 wins and their first World Championship title in 108 years.
Chicago didn’t become the multi-year dynasty some fans expected, but Bryant continued to excel on generally good teams for the next few seasons. It combined for a score of .284/.390/.511 between 2017-19, ranking 17th among the position players in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement over that stretch. Bryant looked on his way to a huge free agent deal, but his production fell in 2020. During that year’s shortened season, he scored a .206/.293/.351 low streak in 34 games. What kind of production the Cubs can expect from him — as well as how his free-agent market ultimately can sound a lot in the air in 2021.
Bryant didn’t recover as MVP last season, but he made a comeback after a slump in 2020. He made .267/.358/.503 over 374 board appearances on the north side, an offensive production that scored 29 percentage points above the league average. It wasn’t enough to keep the Cubs from slipping in the June and July feud that took them out of the postseason feud, though, and it became clear they were likely to move the impending free agent by July 30th. Minutes before the trade deadline, the Cubs shipped Bryant to the Giants in search of prospects Alexandre Canario And the Caleb Killian.
Its production decreased slightly in the Gulf region. Bryant hit .262/.344/.444 in 212 black-and-orange board appearances while struggling on the expansive Oracle Park. However, it hit the market with a seasonal .265/.353/.481 product line. Heading into his 30th season with an MVP pedigree, he appears to be re-emerging as one of the top awards in this year’s category. MLBTR Rank Bryant as the fourth free agent of the winter in November, which he expected to receive a six-year warranty of $160 million.
Bryant’s actual deal comes above that mark, as he earned a seventh year and $22 million more, plus no-trade protection. Just Cory Seeger, which earned $325 million over ten years, secured the biggest guarantee among free agents this winter. (Carlos Correa And the Freddy Freeman You still have a chance to cross this mark.) Perhaps the rise in this investment suggests that Rocks had to pay a premium to persuade Bryant to join a club that is not an immediate, obvious competitor. Despite the confidence of all the owners and the front office, Colorado still had a weaker roster than those of the loaded Dodgers, Giants and Padres of the NL West.
There is also the fact that the last two stars of Colorado did not leave the organization on the best terms. Arenado and the organization had a chaotic fallout before exchanging it with the Cardinals, with Arenado famously saying he felt “disrespected” by then-general manager Jeff Bridich. Meanwhile, Storey said he was baffled by the organization’s decision not to trade him on last summer’s deadline; There is no indication that he is considering re-signing since entering the open market.
There is no doubt that Bryant and Rocky hope that their long-term relationship will end happily. It’s the biggest move yet by first-year GM Bill Schmidt, who took over the baseball operations when Breditch stepped down last April. There is clearly a lot of risk in any type of investment of this size, and Bryant’s profile is not without some areas of concern.
As mentioned, his 2021 campaign – while significantly improved from the 2020 numbers – was not a return to peak level. Bryant’s 123 wRC+ last season was a personal low in any of his six career seasons that didn’t get truncated. By definition, this is still a solid business (23 percentage points above the league’s average offensive output) but it’s not the type of production that will have the support of an MVP. And Bryant has never had the kind of strikingly turbulent ball metrics one would expect from a player who has had so much success.
The average exit speed of 88.2 mph last season was in line with the league mark. The average exit speed of the balls hitting the air (91.4 mph) was a hair above average (90.9 mph). Bryant performs better on metrics like strong call rate (40% vs. 35.4% league mark) and barrel percentage (10.3% vs 6.6% league average), but both marks are better than Elite. He’s always had a fair share of walking and hasn’t been particularly prone to turbulence since his rookie year, but his attachments are closer to the 44th WRC+ player last season (out of 135 players with over 500 games) than he is With an artist of extraordinary caliber.
There’s no doubt that manager Bud Black would put Bryant in the lineup on a daily basis, although he has specifically identified where the diamonds will be. He primarily played third base in his career, but Colorado has a Gold Glove-caliber defender in the hot corner in the Ryan McMahon. It seems likely that Bryant will spend the bulk of his time at the corner, at least next season. He ranked overall as a competent defender in the corners, although he did not seem comfortable managing the difficult right field at Oracle Park during his two months in San Francisco. Bryant has little experience in the center field, but he’s never been a regular option out there and would be wrong for the vast field of Coors.
More is coming.
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