All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant has signed a seven-year, $182 million deal with the Colorado Rockies in one of the biggest free-agent signings to date this offseason (h/t ESPN’s Jeff Passan).
The 30-year-old is still considered one of the top players in baseball at the hot corner, coming off an All-Star 2021 season in which he posted an .835 OPS with 25 home runs and 73 RBI with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.
Colorado was an unexpected suitor that ramped up its interest in recent days. Considering the franchise is still rebuilding in a loaded National League West division that’s controlled by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giants, Bryant’s decision to choose the Rockies can be seen as a peculiar one.
However, he provides the franchise with a surefire replacement of Nolan Arenado — the franchise third baseman whom they parted ways with two years ago by sending him to the St. Louis Cardinals.
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As for Bryant, it finally provides the long-term security that a player of his caliber is normally worth. Service-time manipulation by the Cubs’ front office — which ultimately led to the star filing a grievance to hit free agency earlier — laid the groundwork for the disintegrating of the two parties’ relationship and with his contract finally expiring at the end of the 2021 season, they shipped him to the Giants after six-plus seasons with the club.
In Chicago, Bryant helped revitalize a dormant organization, batting .279 with an .886 OPS during his stay in the Windy City with 160 home runs and 465 RBI. He played an integral role in helping the Cubs end a 108-year World Series drought in 2016 — just his second season in the majors — which just so happened to be the same year he won National League MVP by slashing .292/.385/.554 (.939 OPS) with 39 home runs and 102 RBI.
His numbers are expected to experience the usual bump that most big hitters experience when they move to the thin air of Denver to join the Rockies. Meanwhile, Colorado has an injection of some much-needed star power after going 74-87 last year — 32.5 games back of the division-winning Giants.