MLB

Free-agency grades – Kris Bryant shocks MLB with $182 million deal with the Colorado Rockies

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Hold on, let me readjust my projections…nope, the Colorado Rockies still aren’t the favorites to win the National League West.

It’s been a wild, sometimes bumpy ride for Kris Bryant to free agency — one that includes an MVP award and a World Series title in his sophomore season in 2016, a lost grievance against the Chicago Cubs for manipulating his service time, injuries along the way and a bounce-back season in 2021. I’m not sure he envisioned it would end up with him signing with the Rockies. But that’s where he is going after sources told ESPN he inked a seven-year, $182 million contract — the second biggest in Rockies history, behind Nolan Arenado’s deal, and easily the biggest they’ve handed out to a free agent, surpassing the $121 million they signed Mike Hampton for back in 2001.

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The team is a little bit of surprise given the Rockies finished 32.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants last season, but Bryant’s market always was going to be difficult to predict. And that market got thinner after the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners, two potential landing spots, filled offensive holes with Kyle Schwarber and Jesse Winker. Given his options, Bryant did surprisingly well to get this deal; predictions for his contract back in November ranged from five years/$90 million (ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel) to six years/$160 million (MLB Trade Rumors) to eight years/$200 million (FanGraphs), so this is right there at the top end. Of course, as the biggest Rockies fan I know texted me, « The Rockies only bid against themselves. » (See: Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond.) But what other teams were realistically left in the Bryant market? Maybe the Giants, who saw Bryant up close the final two months last season; but it’s not in Farhan Zaidi’s makeup to give that kind of money to a 30-year-old position player with some potentially problematic metrics.

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