Kris Bryant is willing to listen to extension talks from the Cubs. However, that comes with the caveat of being treated as equivalent to players of his caliber in negotiations.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan, citing a source, the Cubs have offered Bryant contract extensions, but they have not been “anywhere close to what other top third baseman in baseball have recently signed for.
From the Cubs’ perspective, there’s logic in being cautious about how big of a deal they offer Bryant. He’ll be 30 at the onset of his new deal, and if he were to sign, say, a deal anywhere from 7-to-10 years long, the Cubs will be on the hook for a significant annual salary for a player on the wrong side of 30.
But from the other perspective, Bryant is a generational talent, a guy who could finish his career as one of the best Cubs of all-time. He has a ton of accolades on his résumé — Rookie of the Year (2015), MVP (2016), All-Star appearances (2015-16, 2019).
Most importantly, Bryant has played a major role in the Cubs’ success the past five seasons. The Cubs wouldn’t have achieved as much as they have since 2015, like winning the World Series, without Bryant.
Not only is Bryant one of the best third baseman in the game, but he can play all around the diamond and does so without complaining. That’s a valuable trait to have, especially as he gets older and potentially needs to move off of third base.
The Cubs also may be unwilling to include a full no-trade clause in Bryant’s deal, according to those around baseball Kaplan has spoken with.
Anthony Rendon (seven years, $245 million) and Nolan Arenado (eight years, $260 million) recently signed new deals. Even if teams don’t put Bryant on the same financial level as those two, him wanting the added security is understandable. Bryant and his wife, Jessica, are expecting their first child in April.
Worth noting: Jon Lester received a no-trade clause from the Cubs; Jason Heyward’s deal included one from 2016-18 and a partial clause for 2019-20.
The Cubs are right to have their concerns over handing any player entering his 30s a lucrative contract. But if they don’t come to terms with Bryant, another team will in two years, when he hits free agency.