The Cubs reportedly attempted to lockdown star third baseman Kris Bryant to a multi-year deal — one worth more than $200 million.
But Bryant and his agent, Scott Boras, have turned it down. ESPN’s Dave Kaplan was the first to report the offer and refusal, which was made in recent months.
On ESPN 1000, Dave Kaplan reported that the Chicago Cubs approached Kris Bryant about a massive extension worth “well north of $200 million.” It was turned down by Bryant.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) October 10, 2018
“Whispers are telling me that the Cubs approached Scott Boras to do a massive extension with Kris Bryant in the last several months,” Kaplan says according to CubsInsider. “And it was turned down by Bryant and (agent Scott Boras).”
Bryant, who took NL MVP honors in 2016 and has two All-Star appearances, is under team control through 2021. He earned $10.85 million in 2018, the highest salary a player has earned under arbitration. He’s eligible for arbitration for the next three seasons. And, he won’t be a free agent until he’s 30. (That’s kind of a crazy thing to picture right now.)
If Bryant decides to wait out his contract with Chicago, the Cubs might have to part ways with the superstar for nothing. Assuming he stays healthy, he would definitely hold plenty of value in a potential trade. But that’s something to discuss down the road. When healthy, Bryant is one of the game’s best hitters and most fun players to watch.
Last year, though, wrist, shoulder and back injuries would limit him to just 102 games. Bryant hit below his average marks, only batting .272 with 13 home runs. Over his first three full seasons, the 2016 MVP put up 31 dingers per year. In other words, that’s quite the drop-off. Meanwhile, the Cubs are entering an offseason unlike anything they’ve seen in recent years. After a 95-win season, the Cubs exited the playoffs earlier than usual. After making three consecutive NLCS appearances, they couldn’t get past the Colorado Rockies in the wild card game.
We already know Joe Maddon will return for the 2019 season. Now all that’s left is locking up key players, like their third baseman, to keep this powerful roster intact. That could get a little tricky, though. By 2021, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Báez could all join Bryant in free agency. A list of players that once helped the Cubs return to dominance and win the 2016 World Series might not be around forever. That’s just baseball.
There’s certainly time for the Cubs and Bryant to come to an agreement, of course. But right now, it’s clear that won’t be an easy task.