Mets set to talk Bryant with Boras (report)

November 9th, 2021

MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest news and rumors surrounding third baseman/outfielder , who is a free agent.

Read all about Bryant here.

Nov. 9: Mets expected to talk Bryant with Boras (report)
The Mets are expected to discuss Bryant with his agent, Scott Boras, at the GM Meetings this week, according to a report from Mike Puma of the New York Post. New York could have frequent contact with Boras this offseason, considering free-agent outfielder Michael Conforto is also a Boras client. Conforto is planning to decline the Mets’ one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer (per a source), but the team could try to re-sign him to a multi-year deal.

The Mets have shown interest in Bryant in the past, discussing trades for the 2016 NL MVP with the Cubs. Bryant was ultimately dealt to the Giants prior to the 2021 Trade Deadline, while the Mets acquired another Cubs star, Javier Báez.

Improving the offense will likely be a big focus for the Mets after they finished 27th in the Majors in runs scored (636) this past season, ahead of only the Rangers, Marlins and Pirates.

Bryant would presumably slot in as the Mets' starting third baseman, though he also has experience in the outfield. Jonathan Villar (also a free agent) led the team with 97 appearances at the hot corner in 2021, followed by J.D. Davis with 50.

Nov. 4: How might Posey’s retirement impact Giants’ offseason plans?
The shocking news that Buster Posey plans to retire could have a ripple effect on the rest of San Francisco’s offseason. Posey had a $22 million club option for 2022 that was expected to be picked up. San Francisco will now have some more payroll flexibility, but also a significant hole to plug in the middle of its lineup.

On the plus side, the Giants have former No. 2 overall Draft pick Joey Bart waiting in the wings to take over at catcher, but the club can’t expect the rookie to replace all of Posey’s offensive production.

With Posey no longer in the picture, we could see San Francisco make an even stronger push to re-sign Bryant, who had a .788 OPS over 51 games for the club in the regular season before putting up a 1.147 OPS in the Giants’ five-game loss to the Dodgers in the NLDS.

The door could also be open for a reunion with free agent Brandon Belt. If Posey was coming back, it’s likely the team would have planned for him to see more time at first base in 2022, thus clearing more playing time behind the plate for Bart. In that scenario, the team probably would have moved on from the 33-year-old Belt. But now, Belt could be brought back, not only for his impact on the field but to fill the clubhouse void left by Posey.

Then there’s the rotation, which could be indirectly affected. Four-fifths of the team’s 2022 starting staff are hitting free agency, including 2021 All-Star Kevin Gausman. With the money the team is saving from Posey’s retirement, the Giants could have the flexibility to bring back Bryant, Belt and Gausman.

Including projected arbitration salaries, the Giants have a projected 2022 payroll of roughly $72 million, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The team's Opening Day payroll this past season was $149.5 million.

Oct. 9: Will Bryant approach Rendon’s deal?
Nearly two years ago, agent Scott Boras negotiated a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels for his client, third baseman Anthony Rendon, then a 29-year-old coming off an MVP-caliber season. Now, Boras will try to land a similar deal for the 29-year-old Bryant.

Bryant won the NL MVP Award in 2016 and followed it up with a similar season in ‘17, but he hasn’t quite reached those heights again. After recording a 141 OPS+ with 18.3 bWAR in 457 games across 2015-17, Bryant has posted a 122 OPS+ and 10.5 bWAR over 427 games in the past four years.

Rendon, on the other hand, was cresting as he reached free agency, posting a 144 OPS+ with 18.2 bWAR in his final three seasons with the Nationals.

Bryant was having a strong bounceback season after struggling during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, but his final numbers were suppressed by a quiet finish. Over his final 30 games, Bryant hit one homer and produced a .718 OPS.

Bryant’s free-agent case will be helped by the defensive versatility he showed in 2021, playing 55 games at third base, 48 in left field, 39 in right, 19 in center and 12 at first base. Additionally, he'll be helped by the fact that he is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after changing teams during the season. That means he won’t be tied to Draft-pick compensation. Bryant also has a chance to improve his stock with a strong postseason, as Rendon did for the Nationals in 2019.

Still, it may be difficult for Boras to find him a deal approaching Rendon’s.