Cubs: Is Kris Bryant a top 5 third baseman anymore? Not right now.
Face it: Kris Bryant is a good ballplayer. But is he among the top five third baseman? No, and that’s why he’s not getting Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado or Manny Machado money.
It sure started out well enough. A 2015-16 combined slash of .284/.377/.522 and .900 OPS, Rookie of the Year, MVP and a World Series championship. Here’s the thing, and it’ll surprise most, that even during those supposedly troubled, injury-plagued 2017-19 seasons Bryant produced a combined .284/.390/.511 slash and .901 OPS. That’s a 2015-2019 combined .284/.385/.516 slash and .901 OPS.
But by comparison, Arenado posted a combined .300/.362/.575 slash and .937 OPS from 2015-2019, Machado’s slash was .279/.343/.502 and .845 OPS and Rendon’s was .295/.379/.507 and
.886 OPS. The biggest difference though isn’t found in the hitting. Arenado has racked up eight consecutive Gold Goves and Machado has won two.
At third, Bryant rates a pedestrian career 0.0 UZR-150, and a -3 DRS. That’s barely the middle of the pack and nowhere close to Arenado’s 7.2 UZR-150 and 130 DRS, Machado’s 9.3 UZR-150 and 94 DRS, or even Rendon’s 6.9 UZR-150 and 38 DRS. Barring some herculean effort, Bryant will likely never sniff a Gold Glove in his career.
Bryant will make $19.5 million this season, his last year of arbitration, making him the fifth-highest-paid third baseman in all of MLB. Even with supposedly super-agent Scott Boras as his representative, he’s not getting anywhere near Rendon ($35 million AAV), Machado ($30 million AAV), or Arenado ($32.5 million AAV) money from the Cubs or anyone else.