Cubs avoid arbitration with Bryant, Báez, Contreras
CHICAGO (AP) - Avoiding arbitration with three of their biggest stars, the Cubs agreed on Friday for a year with Kris Bryant, shortstop Javier Báez and catcher Willson Contreras.
Bryant, who struggled with injuries in his worst season, is reported to make $ 19.5 million. Baez is due for $ 11.65 million and Contreras is due for $ 6.65 million.
The Cubs also agreed on a $ 8.63 million deal for the next season with pitcher Zach Davies, acquired in the deal that sent NL Cy Young Award runner-up Yu Darvish to San Diego.
The Cubs were unable to reach an agreement with outfielder Ian Happ and only entered arbitration in 1993 for the third time since 1993. They defeated infielder Ryan Theriot in 2010 and pitcher Justin Grimm in 2018.
Chicago also took a step into the future by agreeing to a minor league deal with promising international prospect Cristian Hernandez, who is familiar with the situation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as the deal with the 17-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic was not disclosed. MLB.com reported the move first.
The Cubs returned to the playoffs after missing 2019 and only scored one run while being swept by Miami in their wildcard streak. Theo Epstein resigned as president of baseball operations and general manager Jed Hoyer was promoted to replace him. The Cubs then traded Darvish for Davies and young prospects to San Diego, initiating a rebuilding phase.
With core players like Báez and Bryant, the Cubs were among the worst of the majors with an average of 0.220.
Báez, the 2018 NL MVP runner-up and two-time All-Star, had big problems last season. His average dropped 78 points to 0.203 and he only hit eight homers with 24 RBIs. Baez earned $ 3,703,704 pro-rated with a $ 10 million salary.
Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP, battled .206 - by far his career lows. He only had four homers and 11 RBIs. Two of these home runs were hit in the last two games against the Crosstown White Sox. Bryant earned a pro-rated $ 6,888,889 share of a $ 18.6 million salary.
Contreras made strong progress on the record, ending with an average of .243, seven homers and 26 RBIs. The two-time All-Star threw out nine runners and praised his improved pitch framing. Contreras earned a pro-rated $ 1,666,667 from a $ 4.5 million salary.
Davies went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 12 starts for San Diego last season. The 27-year-old right-handed was picked up by the Cubs last month along with a package of young prospects for Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini. Davies earned a pro-rated $ 1,944,444 portion of a $ 5.25 million salary.
Happ led the Cubs with 12 homers and was second on the team with 28 RBIs. After a slump in September, he finished the race with an average of .258. He earned $ 231,111 pro rata with a salary of $ 624,000.
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