Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant sets record in first-year arbitration

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant set a record for a first-year player with a $10.85 million contract. This topped that of Ryan Howard and his $10 million deal back in 2008.

If there’s one thing to take out of this, it the hope that the Chicago CubsKris Bryant has more than eight years left in his career. Ryan Howard set the record in 2008, but by 2016 had fizzled out and was out of baseball at the end of that season.

And the one thing to remember, in 2005 Howard won Rookie of the Year, followed by the MVP Award the following season (Sound familiar?). So they’re both trending in the same direction. Will they remain on that same trajectory?

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Howard at his peak

Howard finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote for the next five seasons. From there, things fell apart for the former slugger. The Philadelphia Phillies went from a force in the NL East to an afterthought. And with that seemed to go Howard’s ability at the plate.

It’s near impossible to compare a player like Bryant to that of Howard. Different builds, position, etc. And for the most part a different style of hitter. But will we see Bryant have the same drop off as Howard?

Not going to be the same result

When looking at the style of hitters that they were, I don’t see the Cubs’ Bryant falling off like the Phils’ Howard. Howard was a power hitter but struggled with strikeouts–as most power hitters do. But as the game has evolved, so has the art of hitting. It’s about launch angles and exit speed more than it is brute force. Which I think Howard exemplified with his tremendous stature.

Many felt like Bryant had a “down” year, but that’s not the case. Other than his home runs and RBI being down, his OBP and OPS were both UP from the prior year. While the Cubs struggled out of the leadoff spot, it was Bryant who led the charge. In a way, he WAS the Cubs leadoff hitter. But putting him that spot isn’t going to benefit the team. Although, Joe Maddon might take a shot with him. I put NOTHING past him.

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The chances of Bryant falling of his current pace? Well, maybe a little. But only because he’s set the bar so high. But from a ROY and MVP winner to out of baseball in eight years? No. And even if he starts to show signs of that type of decline? We’ve got him for four more years. I don’t think it’s going to happen by then,