Chicago Cubs: Scott Boras still expects big money for Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Kris Bryant / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

At best, we’ll see a shortened 2020 season – and it could be lost entirely. Could this impact the earning potential of Chicago Cubs slugger Kris Bryant?

Prior to COVID-19 laying waste to the 2020 MLB season, the big story around the Chicago Cubs was whether or not the team would trade former National League MVP Kris Bryant. Of course, heading into spring training, we learned Bryant would be staying put – at least for the time being – but once baseball returns, the spotlight will likely be back on the slugger.

His lengthy service time grievance put the Cubs in a real bind. Without a clear resolution, there was no way to accurately gauge interest or put a real price tag on his value in talks with other teams. Now that we know Chicago controls him through the end of the 2021 season, that aspect, at least, becomes much clearer.

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Even just a few months ago, we believed we had two more shots at this group taking a run at another title. This year could’ve been considered a ‘Last Dance’ – similar to the one final championship pursuit Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls put together in 1998. Now, that window seems to be slamming shut even more quickly.

Looking past 2020 toward next year, when hopefully, as a society, we have an effective treatment against the coronavirus, the Chicago Cubs will be in a tight spot. At the end of next season, Bryant, along with Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber could all hit the open market.

Chicago was engaged in discussions with Baez’s camp about a potential extension when spring training was shut down and all talks put on hold. There’s reason to believe he’ll be one of the key members of the next Cubs core – and a face of the franchise for years to come. As for Bryant, it seems more and more likely he’ll do the free agency dance. And if you ask his agent, Scott Boras, the shortened season and the economic impact of COVID-19 won’t impact his asking price – or what he’ll get in his next deal.

"“He’s an established guy, a very proven player. And there aren’t many players like him,” Boras said. “Just plays so many positions; he’s a power hitter; .900-OPS players are hard to find. And you always have the [added] benefit of less wear and tear [from a shortened season] going forward.”"

The three-time All-Star appeared in 147 games last season, slashing .282/.382/.521. For the third time in five seasons, he scored more than 100 runs, tallied 30+ doubles and managed an OPS north of .900. His reputation is somewhat tarnished because of the injuries he’s battled already in his career – but there’s no disputing the impact he can have on a club.

As for Boras, he believes the dire financial picture facing many big league teams in the wake of COVID-19 could actually help someone like Bryant earn more money. A large-market team like the Yankees, Dodgers or Phillies could look to capitalize while small-market organizations seek to recoup some of their losses in the next couple years.

"“For the players who are the great players — because there’s always only a few great players — I don’t think it’s going to have anywhere near the impact,” Boras said, “because those great players are somebody you would sign for 10 years, and you can defer the cost. You just backload the contracts. You can do things with long-term contracts; you could wait for better times but still get the player for today.”"

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Boras clients dominated the free agent landscape last offseason. But the game may very well be changed over the next couple of years and, while he doesn’t think the Chicago Cubs superstar will come out any worse for wear, it’ll undoubtedly be a storyline to keep an eye on in the months to come.