Anno is in the middle of the Cubs Convention Opening Ceremony and Friday night festivities (you can check out the archived and live Facebook feeds via the link at the bottom), while I’m at home recovering from the first week back to school. There’s a lot of news out there, very little of which is transactional in the super-exciting sense as Friday marked the deadline to exchange figures for salary arbitration. Of course, you could consider Yu Darvish breaking his own news to be big news, but until he actual signs with the Chicago Cubs (please?), I guess we can turn our attention elsewhere for now.
The Cubs on Friday avoided arbitration with five players, including third baseman Kris Bryant, who signed for $10.85 million, a record for a first-year arbitration-eligible player.
[Addison] Russell agreed to a $3.2 million contract, [Kyle] Hendricks — who started Game 1 of the 2017 NL Division Series — finalized a one-year, $4.175 million contract, and [Justin] Wilson signed a $4.25 million deal.
[Tommy] La Stella, who turns 29 on Jan. 31, batted .288 in 73 games last season. He agreed to a $950,000 contract after making $573,000 in 2017.
There is still an air of controversy around Addison Russell due to the issues that surfaced last season, and justifiably so. I don’t want to reopen that can of worms right now, but it’s not like you can exactly sweep it under the rug even if MLB ultimately decided not to investigate further.
There was one case that still needs to be settled before a potential hearing in February:
The Cubs offered [Justin] Grimm $2.2 million, and Grimm’s agents countered at $2.475 million.
That’s a really small difference to be quibbling about, but for us peasants, a quarter million dollars is a sizable house in most parts of the country, so I guess you can’t blame Grimm for wanting as much as he can get. Grimm was kind of meh last season, but has shown lots of flash in the past. As arbitration contracts are not completely guaranteed, the Cubs can cut their losses in spring training if they deem him unworthy of the bullpen. My hope is that he justifies his spot as a key reliever and earns that salary.
Assuming the numbers are accurate, and using the high point of $2.475MM for Grimm, the arbitration salaries total $25.9MM. Based on our prior calculations and Cot’s numbers, that means the Cubs’ total commitments are around $162MM. This leaves still enough room to pursue Yu Darvish, and maybe make our dreams come true next year too:
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticChi) January 13, 2018
There will be plenty of news this long weekend, and we may be able to do another Dreamcast to summarize the Convention. Hopefully there will be some other news of note, but we still have a few weeks before spring training. Maybe the Cubs will surprise us after all.