One of the most intriguing free agents still on the market is Kris Bryant. Bryant is a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, four-time All-Star, and World Series Champion as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He has a career .880 OPS. On top of what he has done offensively, he is one of the most versatile players in baseball. He has played over 100 innings at five different positions in his career, primarily at third-base, where he has logged over 5,500 innings. However, he has also played over 1,700 innings in the outfield in his career, and he is coming off a season where he played in the outfield more than he played at third. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants in 2021 and helped them clinch the NL West. With his versatility, the potential landing spots for Bryant range far and wide.
The Philadelphia Phillies are an interesting option for a couple reasons. First, outside of the reigning MVP Bryce Harper, the Phillies outfield options are very limited. Adam Haseley, Mickey Moniak, and Luke Williams are all nice, young options, but they have very little experience in the show. There are some question marks around the trio in that regard. Bryant can be a primary outfielder for the team and fill in at third or first when necessary. The other reason why this is an interesting option is Bryant’s relationship with Harper. The pair grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada where they played together as teenagers and have had a friendship ever since. Having a friend like Harper with him would help alleviate some of the pressures of playing in Philadelphia.
There is a strong core of young players that the Seattle Mariners have acquired and developed. To go along with the young core, Mitch Haniger had a strong year, and is returning and the recently acquired Adam Frazier will inject some contact ability into a strikeout-laden team. The Mariners were one of the surprise teams of the 2021 season, just barely missing out on the postseason. They won 90 games despite having a -51 run differential. Manager Scott Servais attributed his team’s success to their “fun differential.” Well, the addition of Bryant would help the team’s run differential, which could help them reach the postseason for the first time in 20 years.
San Diego Padres
Early in the 2021 season, the San Diego Padres looked like a lock for the postseason, but a late season collapse ended those hopes. The Padres don’t need any infield help, but there is a big hole in left field. Jurickson Profar is currently their best option in left, but his .649 OPS in 2021 left a lot to be desired. Profar is a quality bench-bat and utility guy, however he has not proven to be an everyday guy. Bryant at his best is an MVP-caliber player, but has been at least really good in every season outside of 2020. San Diego regressed offensively in 2021, which contributed to their collapse. Bryant would help them fill one of their holes and avoid another collapse in 2022.
Few free agents are as intriguing as Bryant in regards to what he has done in is career, and where he could go. Because he can play numerous positions well, there are so many landing spots for Bryant. These are just a few places he could go, but the list is much longer due to his versatility. Bryant is a really good player as it is and he has the potential to be a top-10 guy.
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