Bryant takes notice of Arenado's extension
MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant is under control by the Cubs for the next three seasons, but the star third baseman is keeping a close eye on baseball's marketplace. Part of that is his duty as the team's union representative, but he also has his own future to keep in mind.
Bryant's close friend and fellow Scott Boras client, outfielder Bryce Harper, remains unsigned as a free agent, even with Spring Training games already underway. On another front -- one that may impact Bryant more down the road -- the Rockies signed third baseman Nolan Arenado to an eight-year extension on Tuesday that is worth a reported $260 million.
Bryant smiled when asked if the Arenado contract helps set a bar for him.
"Yeah. Totally," Bryant said Wednesday morning. "You always look at what the other people at your position do in terms of their contracts, and you compare yourself accordingly. Obviously, Nolan, he's a great player. He's been doing it for a long time. Super consistent. Tons of passion playing the game. So, it's nice to see another third baseman sign for that much."
The main difference is that Arenado, who will turn 28 in April, would have been eligible for free agency next winter. Bryant, 27, will earn $12.9 million in the upcoming season and will turn 30 during his free-agent eligibility offseason prior to the 2022 campaign. While Arenado has six Gold Gloves and three top-five National League Most Valuable Player finishes, Bryant has an NL MVP award ('16), World Series ring ('16) and Rookie of the Year award ('15) on his resume.
Typically, extension talks for players in pre-arbitration or arbitration years happen during Spring Training, if it did not come up in arbitration negotiations. Bryant said Wednesday that the Cubs have yet to discuss the possibility of an extension with him this spring. The Cubs' third baseman said he is open-minded to that type of deal.
"I'll listen to anything they have to offer. I'd be foolish not to," Bryant said. "If that means going year to year, then I'll go year to year. But, if they want to talk, I'm here to listen."
He used Arenado's contract as an example of a pact that can convince a player not to hit the open market.
"If you look at Nolan's, that's basically like a free-agency deal," Bryant said. "But, yeah, you look at Bryce. He's going to break whatever Nolan got. Obviously, that's kind of why he's still waiting. So, it just depends on the type of person you are. If you want to wait, you wait. If you don't, you don't. That's what it comes down to."
• Infielder David Bote was back in the Cubs' lineup (batting second and playing third base) for Wednesday's game against the Rangers. Bote, who missed the previous two days of game action after being hit on the helmet by a pitch on Sunday, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The infielder was not diagnosed with a concussion and returned to baseball activity on Tuesday.
• After being scratched from Tuesday’s lineup for what the Cubs called personal reasons, outfielder Jason Heyward worked out with the club in Mesa on Wednesday morning.
“He showed up; it’s very personal, but he’s healthy, he’s fine,” manager Joe Maddon said. It’s unclear when Heyward will return to the lineup, something the manager said will be the player’s decision.
“He’s going to make the call on that, but he is well," Maddon said. "There’s something personal that’s impacting him, but he’s well.”
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to start and make his spring debut for the Cubs on Thursday, when Chicago hosts the A's in a 2:05 p.m. CT Cactus League game at Sloan Park. Lefty Brett Anderson is slated to take the ball for Oakland.