The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions and now baseball is in the middle of its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. MLB and the MLBPA were unable to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement prior to the Dec. 1 deadline, so the owners locked out the players, and spring training has been delayed. The regular season is now in jeopardy as well.
Throughout the offseason the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated the length of the 2022 season. This week's we're going to discuss Kris Bryant's future.
Where will Kris Bryant sign after the lockout?
R.J. Anderson: The Mariners feel like the path of least resistance at this point. They could use a good right-handed hitter with the ability to play third base. He checks those boxes. I know some in the industry who have reservations about Bryant and how he'll age based on his swing; it's a fair concern, but I think Seattle is well-positioned to take the risk, especially if it puts them a step closer to ending the sport's longest playoff drought.
Matt Snyder: The Mariners are probably the "chalk" pick, but I'll go with the Phillies. Though they've landed big fish after the "stupid money" comment from ownership, they never really went all the way. The roster is still sort of half-heartedly built -- a big problem there has been internal development of prospects, obviously -- and they can't just keep wasting the prime years of Bryce Harper (29), Zack Wheeler (32) and JT Realmuto (31). There's plenty of room on the payroll to add Bryant. He can take over third base from Alec Bohm on a full-time basis or play mostly at third with spot starts in left and/or center field. The biggest thing is the offense needs another consistent contributor and Bryant provides that.
Mike Axisa: Head says Phillies, heart says Mariners, and the little devil on my shoulder says Padres, so I'm going with San Diego. Manny Machado is entrenched at third base, but Bryant can play the outfield (and play it well), and the Padres definitely need another outfielder. The post-lockout portion of the offseason is going to be a mad scramble and I could see a few free agents, even prominent ones like Bryant, getting squeezed into one-year deals. Bryant went to college in San Diego and a one-year deal with a Padres team that has the talent to contend in 2022 could be the best of a bad free-agent situation. The Padres could really use him too.