The Rockies are “aggressively pursuing” Kris Bryant, tweets Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. Nick Groke and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported this afternoon (on Twitter) that Colorado’s interest in Bryant was continuing.
This isn’t the first time the Rox have been tied to Bryant. They were reported to have interest in his services just before the lockout, but today’s link between the two sides reinforces that the club is actively involved in the pursuit a few months later. The Rockies have been known to be searching for offense, with a big bat to add to the outfield the primary target.
They’ve also been linked to Kyle Schwarber and Michael Conforto (although later reports threw some cold water on the possibility of Conforto winding up in Denver). Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweets that Schwarber and Conforto remain in play as possible alternatives if Colorado doesn’t get a deal with Bryant done.
The Rockies making a run at any one of those three outfielders might seem a bit counterintuitive, as Colorado’s coming off a 74-87 showing. For better or worse, ownership and the front office have maintained they’re trying to contend in 2022, in spite of losing Trevor Story and Jon Gray from an already below-average team. They’ve signed José Iglesias and Chad Kuhl to replace those respective players positionally, but those aren’t high-impact solutions. Bryant, needless to say, would be a much more notable and costly splash.
Colorado should have some payroll flexibility to accommodate a noteworthy free agent signing. Jason Martinez of Roster Resource currently estimates their 2022 commitments around $112MM, including projections for arbitration-eligible players. That’s already above last season’s Opening Day mark but well shy of the franchise-record $145MM figure from 2019. COO Greg Feasel said earlier this offseason that the Rox would push their player expenditures back towards that 2019 number over the coming two seasons.