March 10, 2017
Bryant Beats Trout
Bryant breaks Trout's record
Last week, the Red Sox gave Mookie Betts a 2017 contract worth $950,000. While the runner-up in the AL MVP voting came just short of Mike Trout’s record $1 million pre-arbitration contract renewal back in 2014, the NL MVP winner ended up breaking Trout’s record this week. Jon Heyman is reporting that Kris Bryant will be paid $1.05 million by the Cubs for the 2017 season, which is now the new record for pre-arbitration salary.
What’s interesting here is the fact that Bryant still hasn’t reached two years of service time. This stems from that controversial two-week in 2015 when the Cubs purposefully kept Bryant on the farm despite his clearly being ready to leave camp with the big-league team. That decision may have given the Cubs another year of team control on Bryant, but it’ll probably cost them a pretty penny once the time for serious contract extension negotiations comes around.
With that being said, the Cubs definitely have the financial resources to keep Bryant around and give him a massive raise in pay once the time comes. If he puts up another season similar to the 9.0 WARP he had last year, then Chicago will be happy to give Bryant whatever he pleases. But for now, this is a sign of good things to come for Bryant and his wallet.
Tigers shopping for center fielders
If you were to take a quick look at the current PECOTA projections for the Tigers, one black hole of production would jump out at you in particular. Center field is currently looking bleak for them. As such, it's not particularly shocking to hear reports from Anthony Fenech that the Tigers are looking to add a center fielder to their roster.
The two in-house candidates for the job are Mikie Mahtook and Jacoby Jones, and while they haven't been awful during spring training it's evident that they haven't inspired much confidence among the Tigers' decision-makers. If you also take a look at the current market for free agent center fielders, then Detroit may want to stay pat with what they have and give youth a chance. Otherwise, the likes of Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, and Angel Pagan may await them if they decide to make a signing.
Braves looking for outfield depth
Another team that may be looking for outfield help is the Braves. According to Jon Heyman, the Braves are specifically searching for a right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder to help round out their roster. The elusive outfielder in this situation would also have to be able to play center field as well.
This issue could have been addressed with the in-house option of Dustin Peterson, but a hand injury is going to keep him out to start the regular season and for maybe a month or so after that. So as a result, Atlanta may decide to take a look at the market and see what they can pick up there.
When you take into consideration the sheer number of prospects that the Braves have, they could definitely dip into that pool and find a fourth outfielder that fits the description. While there may not be any specifics when it comes to names here, the Braves’ front office has shown a penchant for making low-risk, off-the-radar trades using their prospect pool, so it wouldn't be a huge shock to see this particular rumor come to fruition.