The Colorado Rockies have taken an interest in–and have had discussions with–free-agent infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant, according to multiple reports.
The Rockies, despite losing one of their better starting pitchers in Jon Gray and likely parting ways with star free-agent Trevor Story, are “aiming to compete in 2022,” per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who first reported the club’s interest in Bryant. The two sides have been engaged in conversations, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, although a seemingly impending lockout could put a stop to the talks if there is no deal prior to the expiration of the league and players union’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is set to occur at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Bryant, who turns 30 before the start of the 2022 season, hit .265/.353/.481 with 25 homers for the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants while spending time at every outfield position as well as first and third base. Bryant was dealt to the Giants at the trade deadline and helped the team win the National League West after spending his entire career in Chicago, where he hit .280/.380/.508 from 2015 through 2020.
The Rockies’ interest in Bryant is refreshing, if not a little curious. Other than Gray and Story, most of the roster that lost 87 games this past season will be running it back in 2022. Bryant alone might replace the production of Story, but the Rockies have several other holes–namely, in the rotation and bullpen, as well as possibly at shortstop and at one more outfield spot–to fill if they want to truly compete with the likes of the Giants and San Diego Padres, let alone the juggernaut that is the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If the Rockies lose out on the Bryant sweepstakes–or, even if they don’t–they could look to Kyle Schwarber or Michael Conforto, both of whom are free agents who have been linked to the club. As far as other areas of need, the Rockies have reached out to veteran relievers Mark Melancon and Corey Knebel, reports MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.
These wouldn’t be earth-shattering moves, but they’re absolutely not nothing, either. If the Rockies can come to an agreement with even some of the players they’re linked to, the result will be the franchise’s most successful offseason, in terms new player acquisitions, in years.