Today, the Chicago Cubs tendered contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players (2017 arbitration estimates included below):
- Jake Arrieta (final time through arbitration) – $16.8 million
- Hector Rondon (second of three times through arbitration) – $5.7 million
- Pedro Strop (final time through arbitration) – $5.5 million
- Justin Grimm (second of four times through arbitration) – $1.8 million
Now, the Cubs and the players will work toward a contract for 2017 so that they can avoid arbitration. If they aren’t able to agree to a deal sooner, the sides will exchange contract figures in January. So far, this Cubs front office has tried (and succeeded) dearly to avoid actually going to arbitration with all of their players.
Because all of the Cubs arbitration eligible players are of the notable variety, there were no surprises tonight, as each was tendered a contract as expected.
Jake Arrieta, who seems unlikely to agree to a longterm extension just one year from free agency, enters what is likely to be his final controlled year with the Chicago Cubs. His salary is expected to be quite large, after another successful 2016 campaign. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon both figure to get healthy raises this offseason, as Strop enters his final year of arbitration (and control) with the Cubs, and Hector Rondon was a closer for a large part of the season (arbitration raises tend to overvalue traditional stats like saves and wins). Justin Grimm, on the other hand, will likely get a modest raise his second trip through.
Remember, those are just estimates up there. Although they tend to be pretty close every year, there are always some surprises in either direction.
The Cubs also elected today not to tender contracts to four players who were pre-arbitration: pitchers Zac Rosscup, Gerardo Concepcion, Conor Mullee, and Christian Villanueva.
Rosscup, a lefty reliever, missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury. Concepcion, also a lefty reliever, pitched well in the upper minors this year, but didn’t quite shine in a midseason shot with the big league team, and then struggled thereafter. Mullee, a righty, is best known as the guy the Cubs claimed on waivers while they were winning the World Series. Villanueva, a third baseman, missed the 2016 season after breaking his leg in Spring Training.
The Cubs could try to retain any or all of these players on minor league deals, so we’ll see what happens on that front.
After the non-tenders and the earlier addition of Brian Duensing, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at a very flexible 35.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.