Today, the Chicago Cubs announced that they have gotten every pre-arbitration player on their 40-man roster under contract for 2018.
Typically, that comes by way of agreement in this organization, but this year the Cubs did have to renew one player – Ian Happ – for the first time under this front office’s tenure. As you may recall, clubs have the right to pay anything at or above the Major League minimum salary to their players with zero to three years service time who haven’t yet qualified for arbitration (renewal). That means a club could, in theory, renew every single such player under team control at the minimum salary ($545,000), but teams generally don’t do that, and prefer to come to agreements. Even when renewing a player, the player tends to get a little bump.
That’s the case for Happ, too, according to Patrick Mooney:
Cubs finalize pre-arb deals with:
Javier Baez, $657,000
Mike Montgomery, $611,250
Kyle Schwarber, $604,500
Willson Contreras, $604,500
Carl Edwards Jr., $594,000
Albert Almora Jr., $584,500.
Ian Happ's $570,000 contract is a renewal (not an agreement) above $545,000 minimum.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 11, 2018
Outside of Happ, all of the contracts were agreed to by both sides. For obvious reasons, that’s the preference.
As has become the new normal for the Cubs, they are being generous with their pre-arbitration players (most clubs, it seems, if they go over the minimum, it’s by something more in the $5,000 to $15,000 range for most of their guys). To be sure, these salaries are not huge, but it’s more than the minimum, and quite a bit more than players at the same service level would typically get from most clubs.
It also matters down the road, because arbitration salaries are partly built upon the player’s salaries that came before. So the extra $100,000 that Javy Baez, for example, gets today could wind up netting him an extra million bucks through his arbitration years. The Cubs have clearly determined that the goodwill this approach engenders is worth more than the extra savings down the road. (And I agree.)
The full list of players who received contracts:
- Right-handed pitchers Adbert Alzolay, Eddie Butler, Oscar De La Cruz, Carl Edwards Jr., Luke Farrell, Cory Mazzoni, Dillon Maples, Alec Mills, Jen-Ho Tseng and Duane Underwood Jr..
- Left-handed pitchers Mike Montgomery, Randy Rosario and Rob Zastryzny.
- Catchers Victor Caratini and Willson Contreras.
- Infielders Javier Baez and David Bote.
- Outfielders Albert Almora Jr., Kyle Schwarber and Mark Zagunis.