Despite Bryant cementing himself as one of the top players in all of baseball for the better part of a decade, all anyone seems to focus on are some of his recent injuries and a poor showing during last year’s pandemic-shortened season. With the former National League MVP entering his final year of team control, at least to this point, there have been no extension talks between the organization and his camp.
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"“There hasn’t been anything,” Bryant told Patrick Mooney and other reporters recently. “I’ve just been really focused on working on some things out here and having good at-bats in the game. But, yeah, there hasn’t been anything on my end. You’ll be the first one to know.”"
Bryant, who earned one final raise in arbitration despite his struggles last year, is set to pull in $19.6 million this year. That fact alone led to speculation Chicago would trade him this offseason, simply in a cost-cutting move. Instead, he’s back in Arizona with the Cubs, looking to remind everyone just how good of a ballplayer he’s capable of being.
It’s hard to say what an extension would look like for Bryant, especially with two of his teammates, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, also in the final years of their respective deals. Those guys seem like likelier extension candidates, at least in my mind, but we’ll have to wait and see.
"“Who knows what year it could be? I could have 10 more years here. Who knows? I could come back as a coach. I could live in Chicago. I don’t know.”"
Can Cubs, Kris Bryant work out a long-term contract extension?
We know Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is planning on talking to all three guys prior to Opening Day. Could he manage to keep all three? Probably not. There’s going to (likely) be at least one odd man out, especially with catcher Willson Contreras one year behind the trio on his own free agent track.
Last season, Bryant batted just .206/.293/.351, looking totally lost at the plate for almost the entire season. The three-time All-Star finally looked like himself over two games at the end of the season against the White Sox, belting a pair of home runs, but that was pretty much it.
So for now, no extension talks. But any Cubs fans out there who don’t think Kris Bryant is worth the time of day, I’m here to tell you you’re very, very wrong. Keeping him on the North Side for years to come would be an absolute win for the organization because, at the end of the day, this is still one of the most talented players in baseball.