This news should come as no surprise to you, but MLB Friday announced the players who rank at the top in jersey sales since the end of the World Series.
Kris Bryant ranks first. The Cubs dominate the top of the list, as Anthony Rizzo ranks second, Javier Baez fourth and Kyle Schwarber fifth. The only non-Cub in the top five is Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers in third place.
The rest of the top 10: Noah Syndergaard, Corey Seager, Buster Posey, Gary Sanchez and Mike Trout.
There’s another story about Bryant worth discussing today, and that’s via Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, who says the Cubs did discuss a contract extension with Bryant and his agent Scott Boras over the offseason, but “got nowhere”:
When the Cubs approached Boras about extending Bryant, for instance, Boras said he and Chicago president Theo Epstein “were on the same page” as far as the fit of Bryant with the team, but made no traction on value.
“It’s no different negotiating with him on Jacoby Ellsbury and all the other deals we’ve done,” Boras said, referring to Ellsbury’s time in Boston, when Epstein was GM. Ellsbury signed a series of one-year deals before signing a seven-year contract with the Yankees as a free agent. “Theo does not settle on certain things. He offers a very limited range. You’ve got to give up an option year, a free agent year and he can move you whenever he wants to move you.”
What does this mean long-term? Bryant will be arbitration-eligible in 2018, and likely will go from his current deal of $1.05 million (the largest ever for a pre-arb player) to $10 million or more for his first arb season.
I would imagine the Cubs will revisit the idea of a long-term extension for Bryant next winter. Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are the modern faces of the Cubs franchise. Rizzo’s already locked up through 2021. I’d like to see the Cubs figure out a way to lock up Bryant, too. If they want to keep having their players hold those top spots in jersey sales, they’ll have to come up with creative ways of keeping them.