Former MVP and four-time All-Star Kris Bryant is headed to Denver. The Rockies and Bryant agreed to a seven-year, $182 million contract on Wednesday, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Jeff Passan of ESPN:
Breaking: Kris Bryant to Rockies
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 16, 2022
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
The Rockies will be Bryant’s third team in seven months after the Cubs sent him to San Francisco at the 2021 MLB trade deadline. Bryant was a core member of Chicago’s World Series-winning team in 2016, the year he won MVP.
He continued to post impressive numbers in his remaining time with the Cubs, slashing .263/.365/.467 from 2017 through 2020. However, he struggled through a down year in 2020, and his relationship with Chicago was marred by a dispute over alleged service time manipulation in 2015.
The MLBPA filed a grievance on Bryant’s behalf in 2016, but arbitrators settled it in favor of the Cubs in 2020, and Bryant was traded to the Giants before he reached free agency in 2021.
Now, after a resurgent 2021 in which he hit .265/.353/.481 with 25 homers and won the NL West crown with the Giants, he’s earned a long overdue payday. Considering his market was drying up with Seattle getting an offensive boost from Jesse Winker and Philadelphia signing Kyle Schwarber, it’s hard to imagine Bryant ending up with a better deal.
The Rockies’ motivation in signing him is harder to fathom. Last year, the team traded star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for a meager prospect return, in spite of being on the hook for more than $50 million of his contract.
The other staple of their infield, SS Trevor Story, is a free agent and has no intention of remaining in Colorado. The incongruity of the decision to sign 30-year-old Bryant to a seven-year mega-contract while dismissing homegrown talent like Arenado, Story, and Jon Gray was not lost on the Twitter-sphere:
It will be interesting to hear Rockies owner Dick Monfort explain giving Kris Bryant a monster contract and no-trade clause 13 months after trading Nolan Arenado’s monster contract, which also included a no-trade clause. Jeff Bridich no longer is GM; Bill Schmidt is.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2022
Kris Bryant fills an important need for the Rockies. Now all they need is a couple starters, five bats, a few relievers and a better farm system.
— Aram Leighton (@AramLeighton8) March 16, 2022
Having had almost a full day to ruminate on Kris Bryant signing with the Rockies, I think I've come to understand it.
This is a bit, right? We're on some sort of hidden camera show?
— Michael Baumann (@MichaelBaumann) March 17, 2022
More charitable takes on the move attribute it to a pivot from ownership toward spending whatever is necessary to win games:
This news sent a clear message to the clubhouse though, and their outlook on the season changed dramatically in the past 24 hours.
"That amount of money from Dick (Monfort) and the front office, that's a pretty big commitment … they are trying to win" https://t.co/I6bZsCFzMP
— Danielle Allentuck (@d_allentuck) March 18, 2022
Rockies fans will have to wait and see if there’s a method behind the madness. In the meantime, they can look forward to watching Bryant ply his trade at Coors Field in 2022.