Each facet of the Cubs' roster will be impacted by arbitration cases this winter.Kristopher Bryant will be aiming for a healthy comeback showing to help correct the lineup problems that arose down the stretch last season. Javier Baez will be trying to build off an MVP-caliber campaign and Kyle Schwarber
Each facet of the Cubs' roster will be impacted by arbitration cases this winter.
Kristopher Bryant will be aiming for a healthy comeback showing to help correct the lineup problems that arose down the stretch last season. Javier Baez will be trying to build off an MVP-caliber campaign and Kyle Schwarber will continue the search for his ceiling. Kyle Hendricks will have a home in the rotation, while C.J. Edwards and Mike Montgomery shore up the bullpen. Addison Russell is in a position to earn back trust as the team's shortstop. Ronald Torreyes, Justin Hancock and Carl Webster were non-tendered and are now free agents.
The seven arbitration-eligible players who were tendered on Friday night can exchange proposed salary figures for 2019 with the team on Jan. 11 if a deal is not reached prior to that deadline.
• Hot Stove: Latest rumors
Baez, Edwards, Montgomery, Schwarber and Torreyes are all eligible for arbitration for the first time. Players can avoid arbitration with a contract at any point leading up to their scheduled hearing in February. Torreyes, Hancock and Webster are now free agents.
The case that drew the most attention prior to Friday's announcement was the one surrounding Russell, who is in the midst of serving a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Both Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and Russell issued lengthy statements addressing the matter after it was announced that the team tendered him a contract.
It is important to note that arbitration deals are not guaranteed contracts unless specified as such at the time of the agreement. If a player on a non-guaranteed arbitration contract is released on or before the 16th day of Spring Training, he is owed 30 days of termination pay (based on a prorated version of their salary). That rises to 45 days' pay between the 16th day of spring and the start of the season.
Arbitration contracts only become guaranteed once a player makes a team's 25-man roster.
"We are taking the procedural step of tendering Addison a non-guaranteed contract," Epstein said. "While this decision leaves the door open for Addison to later make an impact for us on the field, it does not represent the finish line nor rubber-stamp his future as a Cub. It does however reflect our support for him as long as he continues to make progress and demonstrates his commitment to these important issues."
The Cubs acquired Torreyes in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, and then dealt infielder Thomas La Stella (eligible for arbitration) to the Angels for the same return on Thursday. With Russell ineligible for activation from MLB's restricted list until May 3, Torreyes looked like a fit as defensive depth for both second base and shortstop. The Cubs maintain interest in trying to re-sign him.
Along the same lines, Chicago could attempt to re-sign Hancock and Webster to Minor League contracts.
Bryant set a first-year arbitration record last year with a $10.85 million pact with the Cubs, but the former National League Rookie of the Year and MVP dealt with a left shoulder injury that sapped his power stroke in '18. In 102 games, Bryant hit .272 with 13 homers, 52 RBIs and an .834 OPS around two stints on the disabled list. Chicago is counting on a return to health next season for the star third baseman.
Baez not only offered plus defense at both second and short last year, he was a breakout offensive star en route to a runner-up finish for the NL MVP. The 25-year-old middle infielder hit .290 with 34 homers, 40 doubles, nine triples and an NL-high 111 RBIs. Baez also stole 21 bases, scored 101 runs, posted an .881 OPS and picked up a Silver Slugger Award for his work.
After trimming down, Schwarber found a home in left field last season for the North Siders and hit .238 with 26 home runs, 61 RBIs and an .823 OPS in 137 games. Over the past two years combined, the 25-year-old slugger has belted 56 homers across 266 games.
As things currently stand, Hendricks (who earned $4.175 million in 2018) projects to be part of a deep Cubs rotation that also includes Cole Hamels, Jonathan Lester, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish. Hendricks went 14-11 with a 3.44 ERA in 199 innings last year. Montgomery (3.99 ERA in 38 games, including 19 starts) presents a depth option for the rotation, but will likely be in the bullpen, along with Edwards (2.81 ERA and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 131 games across the '17-18 seasons).
Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.