Star Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant discussed some largely hypothetical contractual matters today with reporters including Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Notably, he has not been approached by the organization about a potential long-term deal.
Bryant, 27, saw his productivity dip in an injury-limited 2018 campaign. But that’s only against his own lofty standards. Bryant, who’ll earn $12.9MM this year with two more arb seasons still to come, still rates among the best all-around players in baseball.
There was perhaps some reason to wonder whether the Cubs might see an opportunity to explore an extension, but that hasn’t happened yet. Bryant says he’d “be dumb not to hear anything they have to offer,” so it seems he’d be receptive to holding talks, though it also stands to reason that he’d put a lofty asking price on his future rights.
From a broader perspective, Bryant suggested that the recent extension of Nolan Arenado was a promising development in a player market that is still adjusting to the current collective bargaining agreement. “It’s nice to see another third baseman sign for that much,” he said.
Though Bryant is in quite a different situation than Arenado, who’s only ten months older and would have been a free agent after the coming season, the just-inked contract certainly bears on a hypothetical extension for the former. Bryant is arguably a slightly superior player, after all, and both sides would likely see the AAV on Arenado’s bought-out free-agent seasons as a highly relevant comp.
Zooming out yet further, Bryant also emphasized the fact that smaller-market teams have given out some of the biggest contracts in recent years. Players, he suggests, are well aware of teams’ spending capacities: “Everybody has money. We’re not stupid.”