SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Kris Bryant tried on his Colorado Rockies jersey for the first time and then ran through his thank-yous at his introductory news conference, giving kudos to the team’s front office, manager Bud Black, agent Scott Boras and the dozen or so teammates who had gathered on the terrace to watch.
Then a 1-year-old with a red sucker let out a shout in the back. Bryant had forgotten one person.
“And Kyler,” Bryant said, grinning at his son.
Bryant and the Rockies finalized their seven-year, $182 million contract, giving the franchise a cornerstone bat to compete in the loaded NL West. The 2016 National League MVP might have surprised much of the baseball world by joining a franchise that’s never won a World Series, but the slugger isn’t surprised at all that he’s now calling Coors Field home.
“I love Denver, I love the city,” Bryant said. “I’ve always saw myself living there. Now that I have a son and two more boys on the way, a big family, just being so close to home, all that’s a plus to me.
“I was thrilled to hear the Rockies were looking to do a deal with a bat, and I feel like I fit really well here.”
The third baseman and outfielder gets a $7 million signing bonus, payable within 15 days of the signing. He receives a $17 million salary this year, $27 million in each of the next two seasons and $26 million in each of the final four years.
Bryant joined his third team in eight months after spending his first six major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, who traded him to San Francisco last July.
Bryant said he’s had a soft spot for Colorado his entire professional career. He thought he’d be drafted by the Rockies with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft before the Cubs swooped in and grabbed him with the No. 2 selection. Once he hit free agency, he was already comfortable with a Rockies organization that scouted him extensively more than 10 years ago.
In some ways, Bryant replaces former Colorado star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who signed a $260 million, eight-year deal with Colorado in February 2019 and was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals before the 2021 season.
Boras said Bryant was fully aware of the Arenado situation but comfortable with Colorado’s management.
“The key difference is you come here knowing everything,” Boras said. “You’re not here because someone chose you, you’re here because you chose them.”
A 2016 World Series championm Bryant hit .265 with 25 homers and 73 RBIs last season, and he had eight hits in the Giants’ five-game playoff loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite a midseason slump that precipitated the trade, Bryant earned his fourth career All-Star selection during a solid rebound from a rough year at the plate in 2020.
Bryant can play third, first or in the outfield – his most likely position with the Rockies, who have Ryan McMahon at third and C.J. Cron at first. Bryant also is a candidate to join Charlie Blackmon among the Rockies’ designated hitters.
Bryant is a career .278 hitter with 167 homers, 487 RBIs and an .880 OPS, but he is about to get the full benefits of playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field, where he has batted .263 (15-for-57) with two homers, nine RBIs and a .757 OPS in his career.
The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year’s right-handed swing will offset the left-handed slant to the outfield lineup for the Rockies, who haven’t won a playoff game since 2009. Bryant praised the team’s talent level and said he expects that to change in a hurry.
“I take a lot of pride of the fact that I’ve never played on a losing team in the big leagues, and I don’t plan on doing that,” Bryant said. “So I hope that I can bring an attitude here – that they already do have – but I just hope to compliment it, be a presence in the locker room and lead by example.”
Notes: RHP Alex Colome is guaranteed $4.15 million in his one-year contract.