That season, which came a year after he was crowned the NL’s best rookie, he hit 39 home runs, scored 121 runs, and drove in 102 while slashing .292/.385/.554.
It was a truly remarkable campaign, one that saw him post 7.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
The Cubs, according to MLB insider Jon Heyman, approached him with a contract extension after 2016.
“Kris Bryant turned down a big offer from the Cubs shortly after winning MVP, and while it looked like a risky call at the time, he wound up making $62M via arbitration plus the $182M Rockies deal for $244M. So as it turned out, he surely made much more,” Heyman explained.
Kris Bryant turned down a big offer from the Cubs shortly after winning MVP, and while it looked like a risky call at the time, he wound up making $62M via arbitration plus the $182M Rockies deal for $244M. So as it turned out, he surely made much more.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 17, 2022
The details of the offer the Cubs made to Bryant after his brilliant 2016 are not known, but with several years of team control remaining, it likely wasn’t that high in total dollars.
A Risky Decision That Turned Out To Be The Right One
Over the long haul, we can firmly say he made a good decision in betting on himself, but it’s easy to say that with Monday’s newspaper at hand.
Not many players can say they made $62 million via salary arbitration, and even fewer are good enough to sign a contract worth almost $200 million.
He earned it with his excellent play on the field, even if some injuries derailed his 2020 season and lowered his ceiling somewhat in 2021 (.265/.353/.481, 25 homers).
His choice of team was questionable, no doubt (the dysfunctional Colorado Rockies secured his services for the next seven years), but we can’t say that Bryant didn’t make the right financial decision by passing on the Cubs’ offer.