Update on salary arbitration process

Kyle Hendricks (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Kyle Hendricks (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Today marks the day when clubs and representatives for arbitration eligible players present their requested salary figures for the 2019 season and schedule an arbitration hearing date for early February. As this is the first day when both sides can see what the other is asking for in the process, many deals are struck today that "split the difference," and settle on a figure somewhere in the middle. This is often a relatively simple process with little divide between each side, but there can occasionally be a gap that takes longer than a single day to negotiate away.

Negotiations can occur right up until the hearing, and it is rare for a dispute to actually be decided by an arbitration panel. The reason for this is the panel is not allowed to do anything but choose one figure or the other, nothing in between. This means that players risk getting stuck with the lower figure from management, while management likes to avoid the hard feelings that can occur when they are forced to argue their position for why a player is not as valuable as that player thinks. Once a deal is agreed upon, it becomes a guaranteed contract for the upcoming season.

The Cubs actually did have a case go all the way to a panel last year: Justin Grimm. The reason the Cubs were willing to take their case all the way, despite a small divide of a couple hundred thousand dollars in the requested figures, is that salaries determined by arbitration ruling are only partially-guaranteed (regardless if the player or organization's figure is chosen). Grimm was out of Minor League options, and was slated to battle for the final bullpen spot with Eddie Butler. So, when Grimm lost out during Spring Training the Cubs were able to release him with responsibility for only 45 days worth of his salary as termination pay (clubs are only responsible for 30 days of termination pay if the release the player early in Spring Training).

This was a rare instance, but it is actually one that is likely to apply once again this season, but for different reasons. I refer, of course, to Addison Russell. I find it highly unlikely the Cubs will agree to any terms with Russell prior to a hearing because they will want the flexibility to release Russell during Spring Training without his full salary guaranteed for the 2019 season. If they end up keeping him (please, no), Russell's salary will not be paid while he finishing serving his domestic violence suspension throughout April.

Kyle Hendricks has already agreed to terms this morning according to Jon Heyman.

I will update the list below if I catch word of any other agreements.

UPDATE 1: Schwarber agrees to deal per Gordon Wittenmyer:

UPDATE 2: Montgomery agrees:

UPDATE 3 (12:54 PM): And now Edwards

UPDATE 4 (1:49 PM): Well, I was wrong about Russell. He and the Cubs have agreed to a $3.4M deal (+600K in playing incentives) for the 2019 season. He will forfeit approximately $600K in prorated salary during his 30-day suspension. The incentives breakdown like this:

I'm still working to determine if this means that Russell's contract has been fully guaranteed for the season as apparently this is negotiable.

UPDATE 5 (2:31 PM): According to Jesse Rogers, the Cubs can still release Russell and pay him just 1/6 of his $3.4M contract.

UPDATE 6 (3:37 PM): The Cubs have agreed to terms with their final two arbitration eligible players, Kris Bryant and Javy Baez:

Cubs Arbitration eligible players:

Kris Bryant (est. $12.5M) - Signed for $12.9M

Kyle Hendricks (est. $7.5M) - Signed for $7.4M

Javier Baez (est. $7.0M) - Signed for $5.2M

Addison Russell (est. $4.3M) - Signed for $3.4M + 600K in playing time bonuses

Kyle Schwarber (est. $3.1M) - Signed for $3.4M

Mike Montgomery (est. $3.0M) - Signed for $2.45M

C.J. Edwards, Jr. (est. $1.4M)  - Signed for $1.5M

 

Comments

Leave a comment
  • I know $1.4 million isn't a lot of money in today's market, but is Carl Jr. worth it? When he's on, it's a no-brainer, but he so often isn't "on."

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    He is absolutely worth it. Without question.

    They just need to manage his workload better IMO. His size was always a question coming up and we have enough data over his last couple of seasons that indicate he has difficulty holding up over 162 games. I think they need to lessen his work in the 1st half to keep him fresh down the stretch.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    As a super two guy, this is his first of four arb seasons, rather than the normal three. It is possible his salary rises fast enough over the next couple of years where it may be beneficial to trade him before he reaches UFA. But we aren't there yet.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Preach!

  • Well...who do we have to replace him and his potential?

  • Interesting that Russell isn't among those signed. It would be hard to believe that he'd be pushing for more money than the Cubs offered. Maybe he's hoping for a contract and trade? Is there a benefit to delaying the signing of the contract?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Well, never mind...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Ha ha! I just read the signing as well. Bryant & Baez Left.

  • Wow baez settled for 5.2, LOWBALLED wow just ....WOW

  • In reply to bolla:

    Good grief - doesn't Javy have the option to decline the Cubs' offer and take it to a hearing if he thinks he's worth more? He's even got another month to decide (and confer with his agent). Since he signed today, it doesn't appear that he feels "lowballed."

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Because he's a team player & loves the cubs.Baez was projected to get 7.1 and took a 2 mil haircut after finishing 2nd in the NL MVP and carrying the cubs for ,most of 2018 and leading the nl in rbi's.

  • In reply to bolla:

    "Projected" by whom? Someone who guessed wrong? Did you read the part about Javy agreeing to the deal when he could have contested it?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The same person who projects arbitration salaries annually on mlb trade rumors and is usually 95% accurate.No big deal I thought baez deserved more that's all

  • In reply to bolla:

    I wish we all could get a $4.6 million raise.

    Maybe this opens the door for extension talks?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Hopefully

  • In reply to bolla:

    Lindor got 10M + why is he worth twice as much as Javy?

  • In reply to stix:

    More sustained success. Lindor has been worth twice as much in terms of WAR during his career.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks

  • In reply to stix:

    It is where they are in the arbitration process

  • Prior to Justin Grimm, Ryan Theriot was the last Cub to have an arbitration hearing. In 2010, Ryan wanted a raise from $500k to $3.4M. Jim Hendry and the Cubs offered $2.6M. The 2 sides could not settle, the case went to arbitration, and Theriot lost.

    Even though both sides insisted there were no hard feelings, Theriot lost his SS job by May and was traded to LA in July. The following year he was traded to StL, endeared himself to Cub fans with his "I'm finally on the right side" comment, played himself into a part time position, and won a WS ring. In 2012, Theriot joined the SF giants, continued to slide - rarely playing after mid August, and yet still won another WS ring. By 2013, Theriot was out of baseball.

    Was it worth it?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    WS rings sit in a safety deposit box forever, or something to that effect! :o]

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Yes, it's not about the celebration, the ring, or the money. In the end, its mostly about the journey.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    It seems almost "unfair" that HOFers like Ernie, Billy, and Ron Santo spend their entire careers never even getting a whiff of the postseason while a part-timer on the downside of his career has 2 WS rings in his safe deposit box.

  • Wow - looking at the raises the Cubs got after setting a record for futility. Bryant got a $2 million bump for hitting .272 with 13 HR and 52 RBI's . I know he was injured but he still played in 102 games. I'm not saying that he wouldn't have been incredible (I'm a huge fan of his actually - except that he has Boras as his agent), but in almost EVERY other line of work, if you under perform, for whatever reason you do not get an 19% raise. Schwarber got a raise as well? Hitting BELOW .240 ?? 61 RBI's? Yes he hit 26 HR's... so what. If he hit 8 HR's but drove in 110 runs, I'd be much happier.

    I read an article today that really put the Cubs current state in perspective. They will have Ben Zobrist, Daniel Descalso and David Bote manning 2nd base until Russell comes back. I love Zobs but he is not an everyday player. The other 2 guys can't hit at the major league level. Oh and then there's Happ who is the same as the aforementioned but with more power. Again, power means nothing when you hit. 230.

    As I've said all offseason. if the Cubs don't do anything, we could be in for a long season....the clock is ticking on this window which is only open for a short period of time. Must take advantage of it now.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Nobody said life is fair. Harper should sign to play with his buddy Bryant with a player option after a couple or three years, when he is still under thirty. The Cubs could win another title or two, and the Vegas friends could still get another sweaty wad of money when the union gets things straightened out with the next negotiation.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I still say Harper will be a Cub or Dodger, but he has definitely set up Washington as a fallback so that's possible too now although I don't think he wants to go back there and they shouldn't want him to. Zero chance he ends up in Philly. If Theo was going to do nothing but small moves this winter he would be done by now, including the pen.

  • In reply to TC154:

    TC, I think the last time I heard You say "zero chance" was that the Cubs would not win the division last year. I think Harper goes to Washington. Not sure the Dodgers want to give that many years and I think the Cubs have learned their lesson for a while after the Heyward mistake.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I think Harper should go where his heart tells him to go. "Money can't buy you Love"
    Beatles
    It can't buy happiness or inner peace either. He should get the best deal possible with team that he wants to be with. Of course, that would surely be none other than the Cubbies. The rest will follow.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He will go where he gets the most money

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    All I go by is logic. It was illogical that the Cubs didn't win the division last year. Zero chance is always a stretch and maybe I would avoid it. I would say there is less than a 2% chance Harper ends up in Philly. Washington, maybe 49% at this point. Neither one of them want each other but the Lerners are in a way almost loyal to Boras and will give him what he needs if they have to because it's not like they won't each make out fine.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    To compare Heyward to Harper is silly in saying Theo has learned his lesson on a big contract.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Thanks for sharing.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    You are welcome. How was the Lester contract?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I thought the Lester contract was great. Thank you for asking. Why do you ask?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Because you are the one who said Theo learned his lesson on giving out big contracts by using Heyward’s deal versus Harper. It was a poor take as you just admitted by saying the Lester huge contract was good.

    That’s why i asked. That was fun.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Actually i disagree. Heyward was a bad deal from day one. His contract was nothing like Lester's. Heyward was never worth the money the Cubs gave him. I also said I hoped Theo learned his lesson on for a while on huge contracts Weren't You the one who said the Cubs would or should sign both Heyward and Machado?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I absolutely said they should go sign both of them and plan to do so before the 2018 season. Or at least 1 of them. Not sure what any of that has to do with your post.

    We do agree the Heyward contract was a horrible deal from day 1. I hated that deal. And not a fan of the player. Never a good hitter with an ugly swing.

    That is not what you said, BTW. You referenced Heyward in saying maybe he learned his lesson on big contracts — meaning not signing Harper. Theo will not be swayed on a long term deal because of Heyward’s deal. That’s not reality of who Theo is and how he operates.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    This is an angle I have not considered. I expect the next MLBPA negotiation to focus on entry-level players, control years, arbitration and so on, but it's possible that players who sign long-term contracts now could find themselves wishing they could renegotiate under the terms of the new contract. I'd hate to see Mr. Harper lose out on a million or two!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Another wild card in the Harper sweepstakes is a team or two out there(like the White Sox), who can offer Bryce the moon. Sox have an upside to their future and plenty of seats for the new fans that would stream to Commiscular (or whatever they call that white elephant park these days).

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    If the Cubs did nothing in the offseason they would still be the favorites to win the division. No reason Zobrist can't be a starter while they wait for Russell. Still plenty of time to make a move or two.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    You honestly think so? Brewers won the division and they made improvements. The Cubs on the other hand lost the best pinch hitter in baseball and a lot of their Mgt staff. We DO get Bryant at full health which is HUGE but otherwise I don't see it. But they do have the name recognition so I wouldn't be shocked. I think the Cubs are fighting for their lives this year with the Brewers, Cards and Reds ALL showing significant improvement.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    They also get Darvish back. He’s on track to be ready to go at start of spring training. But they aren’t done. There’s something up their sleeve. They’ve got a track record of NOT sitting still over the course of an offseason. If they bring in an elite hitter, a player or 2 (or multiple players) will have to go unless they carry 1 less relief pitcher. Whether that elite hitter is acquired via sign or trade.

    I don’t see a big move for the pen though barring more trades. They have a lot of money tied up in Morrow & Chatwood plus there’s numbers of options here still. Monty, Strop, Cishek, Edwards, Kintzler & Duensing along w/Chatwood. That’s 7 pen arms Togo w/the 5 starters. Then there’s Morrow when/if he comes back. In the depth area is Mills, Alzolay, Maples & Rosario. I think if the innings are managed early, they could do a lot worse than those guys. At some point too, they have to poop or get off the pot w/guys like Ryan, Underwood, Norwood, etc... I’m fine w/that unless a good trade for an upgrade to the pen materializes, or some are used as pieces in a bigger or better move.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Good point - with Darvish back and a full year of Hamels, the BP shouldn't be as overworked as they were last year. Plus, Monty moves back to the bullpen. I'd still like to see the Cubs add a quality arm or three, but the BP shouldn't be bad enough for the panic I'm hearing.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yeah, I think we all would like more quality arms. But the # of them they acquire is the # that probably goes with the way the roster currently is. With the contracts currently here is why they couldn’t/wouldn’t & didn’t bring Chavez & Jorge DLR back I’m guessing.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Schwarber doubled his WAR from 1.6 to 3.2. I actually think the arb number was a little low.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Amen to this! A lot of cubbie kool aid guzzling homers will be very disappointed if the cubs stand pat. Bryant getting raises after 2 underwhelming seasons Is baffling he’s just stealing money

  • In reply to bolla:

    Bryant was hurt in 2018 and had an excellent 2017. Look up the numbers. I know you don't understand wRC+ 146 and WAR 6.7 which is very good. But, he slashed .295/.409/.537 and hit 29 homers.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Wait - you're saying Bryant put up mostly better numbers in 2017 than St. Javier did in 2018? (.290/.326/.554) Baez hit 5 more HR, accounting for the higher SLG. Bryant's OPS was 65 points higher (.946 vs. .881) AND he struck out 39 fewer times?

    That's just CRAZY talk!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yep. Baez fWAR in 2018 5.3 and wRC+ 131.

  • In reply to bolla:

    A true "cubbie kool aid guzzling homer" wouldn't EVER be disappointed with anything the FO does. C'mon, bolla - try to at least get your name calling right! You're slipping!

  • During the next negotiation, I would love for team rosters to expand to 28 players with teams needing to set 25 man rosters by game or series. There is legitimate angst for relief pitchers with options who ride the AAA shuttle just because they pitched a few too many innings in a game or series.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    The way that teams are handling pitching staffs these days, I think this will happen soon.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I’m with your expanded rosters for the most part. I would settle for 26-27 man w/out setting a 25 man for games. Just go with it. Most teams would just keep off the previous & next games starters anyway if it were game to game.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I would not go for a 28 man roster unless it's 25 for games or pitching changes were limited in some way.

    It 's a recipe for very long games with even more numerous pitching changes.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    28 just seems like too many, too soon. And again they would just sit the projected next day starter & the previous game starter anyhow... Plus I don’t think the players association would go for not having players being paid but near the team sitting idly by when they could be with their AAA team or on game rosters. Just doesn’t make sense.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I would dislike this. We already get too many relievers late in a game. This would only make it worse knowing they would have fresh guys available the next day. We'd never see a SP go past 5.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Excellent comment, although I wish for an extra field player many days.

  • Bad news :( FWIW Bob nightengale said the phillies have emerged as Strong favorites for bryce harper after their 5 hour meeting yesterday and the nationals are long shots.

    So it depends who is more credible to you nightengale(very shaky) or charles the cat(rolls eyes).Regardless I'm sad

Leave a comment