Kris Bryant's seven-year, $182 million deal with the Colorado Rockies was one of the most perplexing free agent contracts of last year's offseason. One year in, it's now one looking like one of the worst.
The 30-year-old outfielder confirmed to MLB.com's Thomas Harding that he will not return this season due to a nagging case of plantar fasciitis and a bone bruise in his right foot. The development means Bryant will have played a total of 42 games in his first year with the Rockies.
In that abbreviated action, Bryant hit .306/.376/.475 with five home runs. His 126 OPS+, which adjusts for Coors Field and other factors, means his OPS was 26 better than the MLB average this season. He also hit the injured list three different times, the first two times with a back strain.
The last time Bryant played in a game was July 31, when he aggravated the foot injury. Since then, he has undergone a platelet-rich plasma injection in the foot, a procedure with a longer recovery time than a cortisone shot.
He admitted to Harding he likely would have chosen differently had the Rockies, currently 9.5 games out of a wild-card spot, been in playoff contention. Fortunately, he expects the decision to help in the long run:
"The goal was to end the year with striders, at about 30% with the movement — and I'm ahead of that, which is good," Bryant said. "I wanted to get as close to being able to play a game as I could, because then I can formulate an offseason approach that's better.
"If we were in the playoff hunt, I probably would have pushed through and got a cortisone shot. The PRP is more healing, while cortisone masks the pain."
All of that is obviously not what the Rockies had in mind when they signed Bryant, but then again, it's sometimes hard to know what's on the Rockies' mind. After all, the team signed Bryant, one of the highest-priced players on a stacked free agent market last year, despite being nowhere close to real contention.
The decision became even more perplexing when the team announced Bryant would be its everyday center fielder. Part of the reason Bryant commanded so much money was his defensive versatility. He played six different defensive positions last year and only one this season.
Now, the Rockies can only only hope Bryant is 100% for next season, another year in which they are not expected to contend barring a transformative offseason. 2022 was a lost season for both player and team.