With just a few hours to go in advance of tonight’s expected CBA expiration, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that numerous teams are showing interest in free agent Kris Bryant. Heyman lists a whole host of teams who have checked in with Bryant’s camp recently, including the Mets, Angels, and Padres. These teams add to the growing list of previously reported teams like the Rockies, Mariners, Phillies, and Astros to express interest in the longtime Cub.
It’s no surprise that Bryant continues to draw such wide interest. Between his ability to play multiple positions and status as one of the best free agents left on the market, several teams likely view Bryant as the best solution to a roster problem that money can buy. Still, despite being of the perspective that the “Bryant market is really starting to move”, Heyman notes that a deal is unlikely to come together tonight. Even if Bryant is content to wait through the work stoppage like Heyman asserts, it’s nonetheless notable to hear new teams kicking the tires on such a high impact player.
In the wake of their recent spending bonanza it would be unwise to count out the Mets on any free agent pursuit, even if every additional dollar spent under Steven Cohen’s watch represents a new franchise high. Bryant may seem like a curious fit for a team that has no shortage of corner options, but it’s worth remembering that several of those options contributed to a team that finished 27th in runs scored last season. Accordingly, it’s possible some players could cede playing time to (or be traded to accommodate) a steady producer like Bryant.
The Angels and Padres represent somewhat imperfect fits on the surface as well, as both have high profile third basemen already in the form of Manny Machado and Anthony Rendon. One could further argue that both teams have a greater need in the rotation than in their lineups. That said, LA and San Diego field two playoff-hopeful teams who finished 17th and 14th respectively in runs scored last season. Signing Bryant would take resources away from pitching investments for either franchise, but would represent more of a sure thing than relying on Jurickson Profar in left field or either Brandon Marsh or Jo Adell in right.