Analysis

Bryant Breaks Record, Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Hendricks, Wilson, and LaStella

Today marked the deadline for MLB clubs to share their salary expectations with arbitration-eligible players on the 2018 roster. For the Cubs, Friday afternoon saw agreements get finalized with four of their six players currently eligible. The players who struck deals today will not be subject to the arbitration hearings taking place next month that finalize players’ salaries for the upcoming season.

Pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Justin Wilsonboth settled on deals earlier today, as did utility man, TommyLaStella. Former MVP, Kris Bryantalso agreed to a record-breaking deal late Friday afternoon, after originally filing for arbitration.

Cubs players who did not reach agreements today include cornerstone shortstop Addison Russell, along with righty-reliever Justin Grimm. Both players have officially filed for arbitration, but they can still work with the club to settle on an agreement over the course of the next month before hearings begin.

Kris Bryant

In addition to Golden Spikes Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and MVP, we can now add first-year arbitration record breaker to the lore of Kris Bryant. By signing a 1yr/$10.85 million deal on Friday, Bryant has surpassed former Phillies slugger, Ryan Howard, for having agreed to the most lucrative deal any first-year arbitration-eligible player has ever signed.

As a 26-year-old face of the franchise, the Cubs clearly do not have any confusion about what Kris Bryant means to this club.

2017 Stats: 151 G, 665 PA, .295 BA/.409 OBP/.537 SLG, .946 OPS, 29 HR, 73 RBI

Kyle Hendricks

Hendricks, who has been a revelation in a Cubs uniform, earned his due today to the tune of a 1 year/$4.175 million contract. Big news for the 2016 Cy Young candidate, as he more than quadrupled his salary of last year, which came in at $750,000.

Hendrick’s regressed a bit from his outstanding 2016 but still put together consistent outings as a starter on an NL Central Champion caliber staff.

2017 Stats: 24 GS, 139.2 IP, 7.9 K/2.6 BB per 9 innings, 3.03 ERA/3.88 FIP, 1.189 WHIP

Justin Wilson

Conversely, Wilson experienced a tough year on the North Side. As a highly touted reliever with the Detroit Tigers, Wilson struggled mightily after being dealt in a Trade Deadline deal for Jeimer Candelario. Wilson today signed a 1 year/$4.25 million contract, as Cubs brass hope the talented lefty can regain his form in 2018.

2017 Stats (Cubs & Tigers): 65G, 58 IP, 12.4 K/5.4 BB per 9 innings, 3.41 ERA/3.38 FIP, 1.293 WHIP

Tommy LaStella

Lastly, Cubs’ Swiss Army Knife, Tommy Lastella, signed a 1 year/$950K deal. LaStella, entering his fourth year with the Cubs, has always been a nice presence off the bench for a team with a loaded offensive roster.

2017 Stats: 73 G, 151 PA, .288 BA/.389 OBP/.472 SLG, .861 OPS, 5 HR, 22 RBI

As we continue to monitor updates over the next few weeks for the rest of the Cubs’ arbitration-eligible players, MLBTradeRumors.com has made the following projections on where the Cubs are likely to land on remaining  salaries:

Addison Russell: $3.2 million

2017 Stats: 110 G, 385 PA, .239 BA/.304 OBP/.418 SLG, .722 OPS, 12 HR, 43 RBI

Justin Grimm: $2.44 million

2017 Stats: 50 G, 55.1 IP, 9.6 K/4.4 BB per 9 innings, 5.53 ERA/5.36 FIP, 1.337 WHIP

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