The Kris Bryant Extension Watch

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The Chicago Cubs drafted Kris Bryant in the summer of 2013, and I’m pretty sure he’s been all that we’ve dreamed of and so much more.  Of course, depending on who you talk to, Bryant might get even better, and he has even talked about this himself.  Winning all kinds of awards, including the Rookie of the Year, MVP, and being a World Series champion, it’s a tough bar to clear.  But if anyone could do it, it’s a guy like Bryant who has the right attitude and the talent to back his words.

Having amassed 15.0 fWAR and 13.6 rWAR before he even turned 25, it’s crazy to imagine that this is going to be Bryant’s age 25 season in 2017.  FanGraphs suggests that the value of a win in Bryant’s first two seasons was around $8MM, which puts his value produced for the Cubs at around $120.1MM.  If you count his bonus, minor league salaries (possibly more than the piddling amounts most of the peasants got), and his league minimum-and-change fromt he past couple years, the Cubs have barely paid him $10MM (and that includes this year’s record pre-arbitration raise).

You can understand how the fans and media, and probably the Cubs as well, want to see Kris Bryant signed to a long-term extension.

Bryant is under team control through 2021 and will be eligible for arbitration after this season, a status that will cause his annual salary to jump considerably. In an ideal scenario, the Cubs would like to sign Bryant to an early long-term deal soon. That’s what the Angels did with Trout in March 2014, when he signed a six-year, $144-million extension that bought out all of his arbitration years plus two seasons of free agency.

We have pondered a Kris Bryant extension way before he even suited up at Wrigley Field.  Comping his eventual extension desires to guys like Evan Longoria, Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper is a fun exercise.  But because of his incredible production and what is expected of him in his arbitration years (starting in 2018 as a Super Two player), it is very difficult to pinpoint how much it would cost to have Bryant give up year-to-year negotiations.  It makes sense for Bryant to bet on himself since his potential at this point seems limitless.  He also is already set for life with his draft signing bonus as well as likely arbitration earnings, so he does not need to settle as of yet.

If the Cubs were to try to do this, I imagine they try to buy out the four arbitration years as many have suggested and maybe even two or three free agent years.  Something like that would cost around Trout’s contract, at the minimum, and not taking into account inflation.  The Cubs know they have time, and Bryant knows this as well.  We will take a wait-and-see approach here, but if it does happen…


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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