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Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras sign 1-year deals with Cubs, avoiding arbitration

Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO — It has been another offseason of nonstop rumors for Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, two of the three Chicago Cubs’ arbitration-eligible stars whose names have been brought up in trade rumors for the last couple of years.

With spring training set to begin in a month, both remain in a Cubs uniform, agreeing to one-year deals Friday and avoiding arbitration.

Bryant, who was projected to make $18.6 million by MLBtraderumors.com, wound up signing for $19.5 million while Contreras signed for $6.65 million.

Javier Baez was the first of the three core players to sign, agreeing to a one-year, $11.65 million deal. Bryant and Baez will become free agents after the season, and Contreras has two years remaining before he’s eligible to leave.

Of the three, Baez has the best shot at signing a long-term deal, though the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the progress the sides made at the start of 2020.

All three players had subpar seasons in 2020, though Bryant dealt with injuries and Baez was visibly frustrated over the rule barring players from watching in-game videos of their at-bats, stemming from the Houston Astros cheating scandal.

 

Team President Jed Hoyer said last month that the Cubs have been “incredibly aggressive with some of these guys,” but the only star player from the core of the 2016 championship team to have signed a multiyear deal since then is starter Kyle Hendricks, who is in the midst of a four-year, $55.5 million contract that includes an option year in 2024.

“We’ll continue to try,” Hoyer said. “But the only deals we’re going to do are the deals we feel make sense for the long term of the Cubs.”

The other two arbitration-eligible Cubs were starter Zach Davies, who signed a one-year, $8.63 million deal Friday after being acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Yu Darvish deal, and outfielder Ian Happ, who did not come to terms and is headed to a hearing. Happ is seeking $4.1 million, and the Cubs are offering him $3.25 million.

Earlier this offseason, the Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Jose Martinez and Ryan Tepera. Schwarber signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Nationals, while Martinez agreed to a minor league deal with the New York Mets.

The Cubs previously settled with relievers Dan Winkler ($900,000) and Kyle Ryan ($800,000 on a split contract).

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