SF Giants: Building an extension with Kris Bryant
2. The Ceiling
Estimate: eight-years, $200 million
Boras will almost assuredly use Anthony Rendon‘s seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels from two offseasons ago as a precedent to get Bryant a similar deal. Both Rendon and Bryant were entering free agency set to turn 30 the next year and Bryant has had a far more celebrated career. With that said, a combination of factors will probably keep Bryant from approaching that deal.
Rendon entered free agency on the heels of three seasons with a .900 OPS or higher. In fact, during Rendon’s contract year, he finished third in NL MVP voting and hit .319/.412/.598 as he helped carry the Nationals to a World Series title. While Bryant has some time left in 2021 to approach Rendon’s productivity, his overall .271/.357/.506 triple-slash falls short of Rendon’s fantastic 2019. Bryant posted a .903 OPS in 2019, but an injury riddle 2020 (.206/.293/.351 triple-slash) will only be further justification for teams to bring their offers down.
Whether or not Bryant is a better free agent than Rendon was, Rendon is in just the second year of his contract and has already seen his productivity take a significant step back alongside an extended stint on the injured list. It might not be fair to Bryant, but teams will also use Rendon’s mediocre 2021 season to justify throwing out his contract as a reasonable comparison.
Boras, though, has shown an ability to coax relationships with ownership groups-particularly for highly marketable free agents like Bryant-before. A $200 million contract would seem well within the realm of possibilities. However, Rendon remains the only player older than 27 to eclipse that mark in recent history. Springer’s six-year deal with the Blue Jays seems far more in line with the current market for sluggers, perhaps setting up a deal in the seven-year, $180 million range.
Bryant will be a year younger than Springer was last offseason and has a much more flexible defensive future with the ability to play all around the infield and outfield. While I don’t think Bryant will eclipse $200 million, Boras has pulled off plenty of significant surprises before. An eight-year, $200 million contract might end up a compromise that gets Bryant to the $200 million threshold but keeps his contract’s average annual value (AAV) at $25 million.