The Chicago Cubs didn’t have to give Kris Bryant a new deal. They could have simply stayed the course, paid him what he made last year and moved on. But this front office isn’t just about “business as usual”.
From his final year of college up to his MVP season for the Chicago Cubs last year, Kris Bryant keeps getting better. He won the Golden Spikes Award (college player of the year), minor league player of the year, Rookie of the Year and the MVP in consecutive seasons. That much success that fast is often done at a discount. But the Cubs had a different idea in mind.
After giving Addison Russell an increase, the Cubs were expected to do the same for Bryant. It was just a matter of how much. It ended up being a record $1.05MM deal, surpassing that of Angels superstar Mike Trout. Following his two fantastic individual achievements, as well as helping the Cubs win the World Series? It was well deserved.
"“I felt like I earned it,” Bryant said Monday of his $1.05 million contract for 2017. “I felt like just seeing where I fall with guys that were in my situation, I feel respected. It’s nice. But all that stuff is good.” h/t Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune"
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Two of a kind, head of the class
When Bryant talks about where he falls in with “guys in his situation”, that’s a very small group. In fact, you could say it’s just him and Trout. They each were 24 years old at the end of the 2016 season, but Trout got his start when he was just 19. So while Trout has a few more games under his belt, you’re looking at the future of the game with these two.
This is likely more than just a “good faith” raise by the Cubs. They have full intentions to lock up as many of their young guys as possible. The extension for Bryant will come. And if he continues the trajectory that he’s on, it’s going to be a big number that he gets on that day.
We’re seeing a different philosophy from the Cubs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them renegotiate Anthony Rizzo‘s deal in the near future. He and Starlin Castro were signed as the “cornerstones” of this franchise–well before the team was having the success they are now. It’s time for Rizzo to be paid like he deserves as well.
This is a process that will be ongoing for the next few years. With players like Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Russell, Bryant and Albert Almora–the Cubs may have a good but expensive problem on their hands.