Cubs Business As The Convention Begins (UPDATES)

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Aside from a surprise pitching acquisition or two (UPDATE: not Tyson Ross), the Chicago Cubs don’t have much else to do before the Cubs Convention starting Friday.  Most of the team that won the World Series remains intact, all a year older, and while some will likely be on the downturn, others look (hopefully) to be on the rise.  Friday also happens to be the deadline to exchange arbitration figures, in which the player and their parent club let each other know how much each thinks the player is worth.  They can then decide to settle (usually around the midpoint of the two figures), or duke it out before an arbitrator to see which figure is picked.  With the Theo Epstein Cubs, there has not been an arbitration hearing so far, and Theo is pretty famous for avoiding those anyway.

The four Cubs that are arbitration-eligible are listed below, with the MLBTR salary projection (which is usually very accurate so I won’t argue):

Cubs (4)

Of these players, Arrieta and Strop are in their last year of arbitration eligibility before they hit free agency.  I don’t think the Cubs are going to give Strop a crazy extension or anything (but I do think they will try to keep him as he has been effective, if not maddening at times), but as we and others have surmised numerous times, they will do their best to try to extend Arrieta on a deal that is fair to both sides.  I surmise that Arrieta will want to test free agency, however (and why shouldn’t he?), and the Cubs will at the minimum get a draft pick back.  That’s a small consolation for losing a major cog in the rotation, but I’m confident the Cubs have some kind of plan to stay afloat in the long term.  After all, with so many assets on the farm, they could conceivably make just about any deal to acquire the right pitchers in trade.

Since the figure exchange deadline is Friday afternoon, it is conceivable that all four pitchers will have settled before the Opening Ceremony.  This means we should expect a flurry of Cubs-related transaction tweets around rush hour.  Based on the current financial obligations and the new 2017 luxury tax threshold of $195MM, I don’t think the Cubs will have to pay a luxury tax this season, so it should reset their penalties prior to a splurge in the next offseason.  That is a really fun thought as the next couple of years of free agents look to be a whole lot more enticing than this year’s.

UPDATE 1/13 11:50 AM: The first bit of news for the arb guys is in:

A bit more than projected, I guess the Cubs are feeling generous after a successful season on all fronts.  Here’s another:

So we’re 50% done with the arb guys, and the Cubs are usually very methodical about this so expect updates soon.

UPDATE 1/13 5:50 PM: Had to do a few things, and Anno is about to go live for the Opening Ceremony, but the big fish has been reeled in for at least another year:

Alas, one player had to exchange figures:

I imagine this will be settled in due time, and they will agree to some figure at the midpoint or so, since Theo doesn’t like arbitration hearings.

The Cubs do have one more major stop before they head to Mesa…

It’s not every day that the Cubs get to go to the White House, so might as well take advantage of it!


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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