Kris Bryant is an interesting player to gauge on the open market this offseason. He is a former National League MVP and has a World Series Ring to his credit, and has been selected to the all-star team on four different occasions.
The 29-year-old has established a reputation as one of the good guys in the game which also helps his overall market. General managers consider character and reputation because the last thing they want is a clubhouse pariah.
KB is also an extremely versatile player. Bryant’s natural position is third base, but he has spent plenty of time in the outfield and even some time at first base as well. This provides organizations with differing positional needs to retain interest in Bryant.
So is there any downside to signing Kris Bryant?
He does turn 30 in January and is expected to command an expensive multi-year deal. Bryant has also failed to replicate his 2016 MVP season that saw him smash 39 home runs while slashing .292/.385/.554. He has not hit over 30 home runs since and has seen his overall slash line dip over the past few years.
But he is still a really good ballplayer. Even if he is not a 35 home run guy, Bryant can help a team win games. Let’s take a look at four possible free agent destinations for Kris Bryant.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants and Kris Bryant could be signing partners after he was traded to the team in July. However, there have been reports that the Giants were “underwhelmed” by Bryant’s performance.
Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly tweeted these thoughts about KB and his potential decline as he ages, “They were happy with what he contributed and know he’s a star player, but aspects of his game definitely underwhelmed. The swing relies on a bit more athleticism and there’s some risk there.”
Can't recall the exact words I used, but this sounds a bit harsher than my intention. They were happy with what he contributed and know he's a star player, but aspects of his game definitely underwhelmed. The swing relies on a bit more athleticism and there's some risk there.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) November 11, 2021
This does not rule out a return to the Bay for Bryant. But it likely means they are not willing to overpay and would prefer a 3-5 year deal rather than a 7-9 year contract. Bryant would likely desire a longer contract at this point in his career. While they could meet somewhere in the middle, Bryant’s future in San Francisco is certainly in question.
The Phillies are a team that needs to win. They have been close for a few years now but have failed to overcome a fairly weak National League East division. Pairing Kris Bryant with Bryce Harper would be a lethal middle-of-the-lineup duo.
Bryant and Harper also played together while growing up in Nevada together, and Harper was rumored to be interested in signing with the Cubs while Bryant was in Chicago before signing with the Phillies during his free agency. The Phillies are willing to spend big money and are expected to be active on the free agent market this offseason.
While young Alec Bohm is projected to patrol the hot corner for the foreseeable future, the Phillies could use the outfield help. And if Bohm ends up not panning out Bryant could fill in at third base. The Phillies will surely engage in talks with Bryant this winter.
New York Mets
The Mets and Kris Bryant have been linked to one another for quite some time now. New York was reportedly interested in acquiring KB during the trade deadline in July before acquiring his former Chicago teammate Javier Baez. But the Mets have been one of the most discussed teams in regards to signing Bryant this offseason.
He could fill a gaping whole at third base while adding some much needed offense to a team in desperate need of it. The team has the pitching with Jacob DeGrom leading the way, but the bats were highly questionable last year. They are hopeful Francisco Lindor can find his footing during his second season in Queens, and adding Bryant to the mix could turn the Mets into an offensive powerhouse.
There will likely be other teams in the conversation for acquiring the services of the 29-year-old, but these three teams headline the market for Kris Bryant.
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