Could Kris Bryant really end up with the Rockies? Despite what appeared to have been a white-flag trade of Nolan Arenado last season, Colorado may be interested in rebuilding around a new All-Star third baseman. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on Twitter this morning that the Rockies are “still trying” to land the former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP.
Rockies are trying for Kris Bryant. Their signings thus far: Jose Iglesias $5M, Chad Kuhl $3M, Alex Colome $4.1M @harding_at_mlb had Kuhl agreement
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 15, 2022
Of course, there’s a rather large difference between that relatively small layout and what it’s expected it’ll take to land Bryant, even if he’s coming off two less than stellar seasons. An abysmal .206 batting average with four home runs and 20 RBI (75 wRC+) in 2020 can be dismissed by the truncated season and the fact that Bryant played with a broken wrist. He battled rumors and uncertainty last season, but his versatility was a boon to both the Cubs and Giants.
Bryant also posted a career-low 123 wRC+ for a full season in 2021, though that’s still 23% higher than the average offensive producer. Between the emotions of his Cubs career coming to a close with San Francisco’s power-sapping dimensions, perhaps more of that performance can be explained away.
Bryant isn’t the only former Cub the Rockies are said to be going hard after, as Kyle Schwarber is also reportedly on the team’s radar as his market heats up. Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding reported last night “the net they are casting is a little wider” than Bryant, saying both Schwarber and outfielder Michael Conforto. are in the mix.
Source: #Rockies are serious in the pursuit of Kris Bryant but the net they are casting is a little wider than that. So count in Kyle Schwarber, count in Michael Conforto in effort to boost middle of the order. Front office, ownership are serious, but there's plenty competition.
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) March 14, 2022
There’s been some talk that Conforto is also on the Cubs’ radar, but it’s hard to know how serious that is at this point. Some of it is simply conjecture based on the fit, especially since Conforto’s declination of the qualifying offer might turn the Cubs off. The fact that the Cubs met with Seiya Suzuki seems to hint the Japanese star is their top outfield target.
It would certainly be a surprise to see the Rockies driving activity at the top of the market, but perhaps they’re looking at an expanded playoff field and seeing how much easier it is to compete when other teams are giving up already.