Slugger Kris Bryant signing with Colorado Rockies

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Veteran slugger Kris Bryant has agreed to a $182 million, seven-year deal to join the Colorado Rockies, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because its completion is pending a successful physical.

Bryant is headed to his third team in eight months after spending his first six major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, who traded him to San Francisco last July.

The 2016 NL MVP and World Series champion batted a combined .265 with 25 homers and 73 RBIs last season, and he pounded out eight hits in the Giants’ five-game playoff loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite a midseason slump that precipitated the trade, Bryant earned his fourth career All-Star selection during a solid rebound from a rough year at the plate in 2020.

The Rockies clearly liked what they saw: Bryant landed a huge free-agent deal to move to Colorado as a middle-of-the-order bat and a fielder who can play third base, first base or in the outfield — his most likely position with the Rockies, who have Ryan McMahon at third and C.J. Cron at first. Bryant also is an obvious candidate to join Charlie Blackmon among the Rockies’ designated hitters.

San Francisco Giants’ Kris Bryant is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros during the third inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Bryant is a career .278 hitter with 167 homers, 487 RBIs and an .880 OPS, but he is about to get the full benefits of playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field, where he has batted .263 (15-for-57) with two homers, nine RBIs and a .757 OPS in his career.

The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year’s right-handed swing will offset the left-handed slant to the outfield lineup for the Rockies, who haven’t won a playoff game since 2009.

The signing indicates Colorado still wants to be competitive in the NL West despite its roster upheaval over the past year-plus, including last year’s trade of Nolan Arenado and the impending probable departure of Trevor Story.

The Rockies signed free agent shortstop José Iglesias to a one-year deal on Wednesday, seemingly an acknowledgement that Story’s productive tenure with the club is over. The two-time All-Star hit 158 homers for Colorado.

Iglesias hit .271 with 27 doubles, nine homers and 48 RBIs last season with the Los Angeles Angels and Boston. After several seasons as one of the majors’ top defensive players at shortstop, Iglesias curiously struggled in the field last year in Anaheim, committing a career-high 16 errors before the Halos released him in September.

“In 2012, he was the flashiest, funnest guy to watch I had ever seen in the field,” said Rockies right-hander Daniel Bard, who played with Iglesias in Boston. “It was like, ’Oh, my gosh, if he can just piece it together, he’s Omar Vizquel.’ He’s like a magician with his hands. He also brings an energy. He’s pieced together a really awesome career. I’ve been impressed with him since the day I met him.”

The Rockies also agreed to a one-year contract with longtime Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl, now a top candidate to fill the spot in the starting rotation vacated when Jon Gray signed a four-year, $56 million free-agent deal with Texas.

“I believe in myself,” Kuhl said. “I’m committed to being a starter, but I’ve always been a team guy. It’s always been my nature to try to win, so whatever I can do to help is what I am going to do. But I believe that is going to be to start. I believe I add a lot of value as a starter.”

Kuhl went 5-7 with a 4.82 ERA last season, making 14 starts and 14 relief appearances. He is 25-30 in five major league seasons with the Pirates, although he missed the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in late 2018.