The Colorado Rockies had a few needs entering the offseason but chief among them was a bat and, preferably, an outfield bat.
That’s why they have reportedly been interested in free agent outfielders Michael Conforto, Kyle Schwarber, and others throughout the offseason. But, seemingly, they have one player at the top of their list: Kris Bryant.
The Colorado Rockies are “aggressively pursuing” Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant is the free agent that is at the top of the list of free agent targets for the Colorado Rockies. Nick Groke and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report that the Rockies remain interested in Bryant and “it seems they are not being shy about it.”
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that they are “aggressively pursuing” Bryant and that talks are deep, as they are “at (the) ownership level.”
Bryant, 30, is primarily a third baseman but he does have a lot of experience in the outfield as well. At the major league level, he has played 678 games at third base, 159 games in left field, 109 games in right field, 32 games at first base, 29 in center field, and two at shortstop.
Considering that the Rockies have been known for liking their versatile players (Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, Chris Owings, etc.), Bryant would fit that mold but he would, easily, become the Rockies best overall hitter.
In 2021, he split the season between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants and he played in 144 games. He had 25 homers, 73 RBI, 32 doubles, a .265/.353/.481 slash line, and an OPS+ of 124. He also had an rWAR of 3.3 and was an All-Star.
He struggled with injuries in 2020 and it showed at the plate (73 OPS+) but in 2019, he had an OPS+ of 132 in 147 games and he was an All-Star as well.
His best season came in 2016 when on the World Series champion Cubs, he won the NL MVP. He led the NL in runs (121) and had 39 homers, 102 RBI, a slash line of .292/.385/.554, and an OPS+ of 144. His 7.3 rWAR also led all position players in the NL that year.
Bryant hasn’t been that same player since but if he can still produce at a 120-130 OPS+ clip, that’s what the Rockies lost when they traded Nolan Arenado to St. Louis last offseason so it would be a huge pickup for them.
It would also give fans a reason to pay attention to the Rockies, who have been a bad team for three straight years and, without Arenado and Trevor Story (entering 2022), a team that lacks any star power.