Chicago White Sox: Kris Bryant would make a fine addition to lineup
By Chip Egan
Right field is one area the Chicago White Sox needs to address this off-season and one free agent who resided on the northside of town for a time could fill that void. However, the bidding for the services of Kris Bryant could be tricky and it’s not just because of who might get involved.
Over his seven seasons in the majors, Bryant has a line of .278/.376/.504. Those numbers are the type that makes general managers sit up and take notice, which they have. Reports are the Seattle Mariners would like to build on their surprise finish last season and have their sights set on bringing Bryant into the fold.
They picked up second baseman Adam Frazier in a trade with San Diego and think Bryant could make them even more formidable in not just the American League West but in the A.L. overall.
The interesting part is he doesn’t seem willing to sign anything until a new collective bargaining agreement is completed. The current deal expires on December 1st and many big names are still out on the free-agent market looking for homes. There is a possibility that many of those players are thinking like Bryant and want to see what shakes out before agreeing to new deals.
The Chicago White Sox could use a new right fielder for the 2022 season.
Bryant was a key piece to the Cubs finally breaking their curse of not having won a World Series since 1908 when he put together an MVP season and brought home the title in 2016. That award was just a year removed from his having won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2015. Bryant hit a combined 65 homers in those two seasons.
While that seems like a long time ago, it really isn’t and Bryant still packs a punch in his bat. Aside from an injury-plagued 2018 and the COVID shortened 2020, Bryant hit no less than 25 homers in a season. That includes last season in which he hit 18 bombs before being traded to the San Franciso Giants where he added 7 more while putting up a slash line of .262/.344/.444 in 51 games.
That type of power can help the Sox offense, which relied on the long ball to win. In the team’s 93 victories, the Sox hit 153 homers. However, they only totaled 37 in their 69 losses. His average of 31 homers a season would certainly provide a boost to the lineup.
Bryant’s defensive versatility makes him a very desirable commodity. Despite playing over 670 games in his career at third base, Bryant has logged 265 games in the outfield, 109 of which were in right. He can certainly fill in at designated hitter and can play first or third base when needed.
One area of concern is the number of strikeouts Bryant has put up. He led the league with 199 K’s in 2015 but his numbers dropped significantly over the following two years. Those totals began to creep back up over the last two full seasons in which he fanned 280 times. Despite that, Bryant’s offense is still one of the better ones in baseball and his presence would provide stability in right field.
If Bryant is not an option, there are still several guys worth keeping an eye on for right field. Players such as Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, and Michael Conforto could be on their radar.