Going by sheer offensive numbers, Arenado is the clear winner over Bryant as Arenado has averaged 40 home runs and 131 RBI to Bryant’s 31 homers and 91 RBI since 2015. However, when you consider that Arenado averaged a slash line .297/.353/.557 and Bryant slashed a .288/.388/.527, their numbers are close to even. But when you adjust for the parks played in (with OPS+), Bryant is the clear winner over Arenado, 142 to 128.
Defensively, Arenado’s 58 Defensive Runs Saved compared to Bryant’s 16 DRS since 2015 makes him the clear winner.
On the baserunning front, Bryant’s sprint speed of 28.2 feet per second, fourth best among third baseman, according to Statcast. Arenado averaged 26.7 feet per second, 32nd among third baseman and 0.3 under league average for all players so Bryant has Arenado beat here.
In Wins Above Replacement, the two are in a dead heat, but Bryant leads by a 0.2 margin, 19.7 to 19.5.
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What will it take to lock up Arenado long-term?
With Bryant making record-breaking contracts and their third base counterpart of the Toronto Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson (who had 21.1 WAR in the past three seasons but been declining in each of those three years) breaking an arbitration record in general by making $23 million for 2018, according to Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Arenado could easily make $25 million for the 2019 season.
With that being said, for a long term contract, Arenado would be entering his age 29 season when he becomes a free agent. I would guess that he could get $35 million a season and he’d probably be able to get eight years (perhaps even more). That would put a contract at 8 years and $280 million.
That may be a steep price to pay for the Rockies and they may not even be able to do it. Honestly, though, I would not be surprised to see it climb to nine or ten years and approaching $40 million a season. At that point, you are flirting with $400 million.
Only time will tell if Arenado will be able to demand that kind of money in a few years but with the arbitration deals of Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson, it will take a few bank trucks to pay the man what he is worth.