Arbitration: Final Settlement Numbers, Next Steps for Cubs and Jake Arrieta

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Arbitration: Final Settlement Numbers, Next Steps for Cubs and Jake Arrieta

Chicago Cubs

jake arrieta vintageNow that the first post-tender arbitration-related deadline has passed, it’s time to take a look at the results. I’ve previously deconstructed each individual case, but of the seven arbitration eligible players, only one – Jake Arrieta – failed to reach an agreement with the Cubs before the deadline to submit salary requests on Friday.

So, let’s look at where each contract ended up, what we expect for Jake Arrieta, and where things should go from there.

The Players Who Settled:

  • Chris Coghlan – 1 year/$4.6M
  • Justin Grimm – 1 year/$1.275M
  • Hector Rondon – 1 year/$4.2M
  • Pedro Strop – 1 year/$4.4M
  • Adam Warren – 1 year/$1.7M
  • Travis Wood – 1 year/$6.17M
Ultimately, there weren’t too many surprises in this lot. Coghlan, Grimm, Rondon and Warren got bigger raises than MLBTR projected, but each was well within the expected zones. Wood and Strop got a bit less than projected, but both missed the mark by just a couple hundred thousand. Adam Warren, it would seem, has yet to officially establish himself as a starter – in the eyes of those that matter – which is partially why his raise wasn’t quite as big. Still, it was just his first time through arbitration, and a $1 million raise isn’t something to scoff at.

For more on each player’s case, as well as how many years of control/trips through arbitration each has left, take a look at my previous arbitration piece here.

The Player Who Did Not Settle:

  • Jake Arrieta
    • Cubs Offered: 1 year/$7.5M
    • Arrieta Requested: 1 year/$13M

Now, if this case actually reaches arbitration, which I suspect it will not, the arbitrator will hear both sides argue for its proposed salary. Then, after encouraging an agreement one last time, he or she will ultimately choose one of the two proposed salaries. Never does an arbitrator pick a midpoint or negotiate an agreement for either party. So again, if it gets to that point, the arbitrator will have to choose. And given the season Arrieta just had, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the arbitrator select Arrieta’s proposal.

Which is one of many reasons why the Cubs won’t allow this to actually reach an arbitration hearing. A Theo Epstein-led front office has never gone to arbitration with a player, and I wouldn’t expect that to change now.

The Cubs’ initial offer is a bit low given the season Arrieta just had, but it is only his second time through arbitration and they have to keep future negotiations in perspective. For what it’s worth, the midpoint between the two salaries, $10.25M, is almost exactly what MLBTR projected ($10.4M). At this point, something in $10.5M-$11M range is where I expect things to land for 2016. A two-year deal, which would cover both of Arrieta’s remaining arbitration years, is possible, but I wouldn’t count on an extension beyond that right now.

If there is no agreement to be had, arbitration hearings are scheduled to begin in February. We’ll keep you updated until then, but look for word on a deal to come out much sooner.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami