Even if Kris Bryant’s price tag drops as low as Kiley McDaniel projects at ESPN (five years, $90 million), a reunion between this former MVP and the Cubs feels unlikely. Fortunately, for our sanity, I don’t see that happening. He’ll topple – at least – $100M if it’s the last thing Scott Boras does. But even if he’s not coming back to Chicago, Bryant is one of the top free agent bats in a market we expect/hope the Cubs to be busy. And with all the history too, I just plan to follow his path a little more closely than others this offseason.
And so today I share the following report out of New York: “[Kris] Bryant, 29, is among the players the Mets are expected to discuss with agent Scott Boras this week at the GM meetings, which convened Monday.”
If you’re looking for a little more background on what exactly happens at the GM Meetings and why the Cubs could find themselves active before the CBA expires, Brett got into all of that this morning. But the short version? The GM Meetings are an opportunity for early discussions between teams and free agent representatives. So while no one expects a free agent like Kris Bryant to sign before December (especially as a Scott Boras client (and especially before the expected lockout)), this is an important step for the Mets to take if they planned to get serious about Bryant this winter. And this shouldn’t really surprise us, given how often they tried to acquire Bryant over the last calendar year.
If you think back to last winter, you might recall that the Bryant-Mets smoke was so serious, he actually received a premature text message that said “Welcome to the Mets,” which prompted him to call Scott Boras and Jed Hoyer to confirm whether he had finally been traded. And at the most recent trade deadline, before the Cubs sent Javy Báez to New York for Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Mets were trying hard to get Bryant instead.
And for the Mets, it makes plenty of sense, right? Aside from their former attempts to get him, indicating at least a base line level of interest, the Mets (1) are already set to exceed the luxury tax threshold (if that’s even a thing in the new CBA) (2) they don’t have a starting third baseman on the roster, and (3) outfielder Michael Conforto will decline his qualifying offer making him a free agent. With potential openings in the outfield, third base, and maybe DH, Bryant’s versatility and bat probably looks like a good way to kill multiple birds with one free agent stone. And maybe it should go without saying, but after signing Francisco Lindor to a massive $341 million deal last offseason, the Mets will want to capitalize on this window as soon and often as possible.
I still think New York would be a questionable fit for Bryant’s personality (which I say in defense of HIM, not New York, who almost ate Javy Báez alive before they realized he’s awesome), and that’s not even mentioning all the front office and organizational turmoil, but money talks and if that’s where he wants to be, that’s where he’ll go.
For what it’s worth, Jon Heyman also projected Bryant to the Mets on a seven-year, $175 million deal, though that was purely speculative, as far as we can tell.
I always had the Giants as the best bet to land Bryant this offseason, he just seemed to fit in so well there, but their post-season comments on the possibility did seem surprisngly lukewarm. Even still, they were mentioned as the second most-likely team by Jon Heyman and are echoed in this report out of New York, as well a couple other teams, as a possible destination: “The Mets could have competition from the Giants, Mariners and Blue Jays, among others, for Bryant.”