MLB Salary Arbitration On Deck

1/12 UPDATE #2

Kris Bryant ($10.85M) and Addison Russell ($3.2M) signed 2018 contracts Friday evening and so they will not be going to a salary arbitration hearing next month. 

This leaves Justin Grimm as the only Cub who will be scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing next month (unless he signs a contract in the meantime). Since the Cubs offered Grimm $2.2M and Grimm requested $2.475M, an agreement could very well be reached long before the hearing (the mid-point would be $2,337,500).   

1/12 UPDATE #1

Kyle Hendricks ($4.175M), Tommy LaStella ($950K), and Justin Wilson ($4.25M) signed 2018 contracts prior to the 1 PM (Eastern) deadline, while Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Justin Grimm remain unsigned and (unless an agreement is reached in the meantime) are headed for salary arbitration hearings next month.   



An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration. Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group and the player accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time during the previous season.

The "Super Two" cut-off for 2018 (post-2017) is 2+123 (two years plus 123 days) MLB Service Time.

Six Cubs players are eligible to request salary arbitration this time around, including Kris Bryant and Addison Russell (who are eligible as post-2017 "Super Two" players).

Bryant, Russell, Kyle Hendricks, and Tommy LaStella are eligible for the first time, Justin Grimm is eligible for the third time (he was a "Super Two" player post-2016 so he will qualify for four years of salary arbitration), and Justin Wilson is eligible for his third and final time.  

Kris Bryant, INF ("Super Two") - 2017 salary: $1.05M
Justin Grimm, RHP - 2017 salary: $1.825M
Kyle Hendricks, RHP - 2017 salary: $760,500
Tommy LaStella, INF - 2017 salary: $573,500
Addison Russell, INF ("Super Two") - 2017 salary: $644,000
Justin Wilson, LHP - 2017 salary: $2.7M

If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration. The MLBPA is responsible for delivering all requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department (MLB LRD) on the Tuesday immediately prior to the Friday that falls during the week January 10-16. Once salary arbitration has been requested, the player submits his desired salary to the MLBPA, the club submits its salary offer to the MLB LRD, and the MLBPA and MLB LRD exchange the two figures on the Friday that falls during the week January 10-16. The MLBPA and MLB LRD then schedule a hearing with a three-person arbitration panel. Hearings are held on various dates during the first three weeks of February. 

The club's offer must be at least the MLB minimum salary, and, in most cases, must be at least 80% of the player's previous year's salary and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. However, if the player received a raise in excess of 50% by a salary arbitration panel the previous season, a 20% maximum salary reduction from the previous season and a 30% maximum salary reduction from two seasons back does not apply, and the club only has to offer at least the MLB minimum salary.

After arbitration has been requested, the player and the club can continue to negotiate back & forth, and the player can withdraw from the process any time up until the hearing. And in fact this frequently happens, as the player and the club will often agree to just "split the difference" (something the panel cannot do). If the matter does go to a hearing, the arbitration panel must choose either the club's offer or the player's figure.

Win or lose, the player is awarded a standard one-year MLB contract with no "minor league split" salary or incentive/performance bonuses. Also, the contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB 40-man roster receives 100% of what remains of his salary if he is released during the regular season).

NOTE: The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player is victorious at an arbitration hearing and is awarded a contract by an arbitration panel and then is subsequently released by his club prior to or during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.


Here are MLBTR's arbitration estimates for those six players. Justin Wilson (5.035) – $4.3MM Justin Grimm (4.153) – $2.4MM Kyle Hendricks (3.081) – $4.9MM Tommy La Stella (3.057) – $1.0MM Kris Bryant (2.171) – $8.9MM Addison Russell (2.167) – $2.3MM

The Cubs gave KB $1.05m last year so the estimate above is light. Edit- Saw a lower number in the post by JB, but it’s correct in the article itself

I wonder if they get a deal done with Hendricks to buy out his arbitration years and add 3 or 4 years to it, hell why not add 6 extra years. I don't know, he seems like the kind of guy who it could be smart to lock up for longer years and lower $ right now. Dude knows how to pitch...

Yes, please! Given the premium for starting pitchers, it should get done. The guy has a 2.94 career ERA in 99 starts., one of the best among active starters. Oh, and there was the whole "beat Kershaw to go to the WS" thing. Get 'er done!

while his numbers held up, he lost 2mph off his already slow stuff last season. i dunno what's behind the velocity drop, but that's usually not a great sign. that gives me a bit of pause about handing the due a long contract unless the drop has nothing to do with a medical issue.

Agree. Let's see another year of good results with Kyle before the Cubs throw long-term money at him.

@crunch and JHB- You guys make great points, but those same points are why I think now is the time to get it done. We watched Hendricks pitch with even lower velocity and look a little less effective at the beginning of the year, miss some time with his tendonitis, and then come back and look solid, even without his velocity improving back to where we expected. He's proven he can pitch better than an average pitcher with even lesser than his lesser stuff. He's a gamer, and not a max effort guy. I think he lasts a long time in this game, and if he continues what he did for 2016 and the 2nd half of 2017 (after getting over tendonitis), waiting to sign that extension till after the 2018 season may just be the difference between getting him for 9 years and $120M or 7 years and $150M. And in a time where we see how much the AAV of contracts matters so much, that's a huge swing. All he'd need to get the better contract is to place in the top 3 of Cy Young guys again, which is easier said that done, but not far-fetched at all. Just a note about his 2017 2nd half... ERA 2.19, K/BB 3.79, FIP 3.38, and those numbers are all right in line with his 2016 season, but with a BABIP of .298, compared to .253 from 2016.

Well, the Bears re-boot with Nagy. Its not gonna make a bit of difference without players.

So Pace got a 2-year extension recently. Means to me that he's "playing" for his next contract after four more seasons. Last year he (in my opinion) vastly overpaid, but got the QB he saw as the future of the franchise. Today he hired a coach who, at first glance, seems to be a very good fit for the QB he sees as the future of the franchise. Good, bad, or otherwise the next four years are going to be defined by Pace-Nagy-Trubisky. Hopefully both Pace and the Bears upper management see this as a long-term plan and they rebuild the team from the inside out over the next 2 to 3 years and not worry about next year's W-L record. Be good in a couple years once Trubisky has matured a little bit. Draft a lineman or defensive difference maker first this year, or even trade down to get more picks. Don't reach for a WR.

Thank you. Build that line on both sides. Gotta protect Mitch, and pressure the opposing team's QB first. I am wondering if internally they are going to move on from Kyle Long. Such tremendous promise that seemingly has missed more games than he's played in his career. Such a badass, but every year the OC has to scramble and patch b/c he's not available - or hurts his neck/shoulder/ankle/thumb/hand/knee in-game.

While I agree that Kyle is starting to be an issue the problem with moving on from him as well as fixing overall pass protection is pass protection starts with the tackles and those are terrible on the Bears. The inside of the line, which is a strength of the Bears, is better for run blocking. So if the Bears want to move on from Kyle AND get better at pass blocking they will need two tackles and a guard and that's a tall order when you also need WRs, DEs, LBs, CBs. My guess is they try to stick with Kyle a bit longer and prioritize on offense a tackle, elite WR and TE depending on the prognosis of Zach Miller.

As much as I like Kyle Long, I also worry about him moving forward. What worries me most (and same applies to Kevin White) is it seems to me that guys who develop an injury history don't suddenly become ironmen, they seem to continue to get injured (see Derrick Rose).

Health is a skill.

NFL injuries are a different ballgame. Kyle Long is having 3 separate surgeries on his he can continue to have steroid-crazed 300+ pound monsters crash into his head and neck on a regular basis. There is a good chance he will wind up at least partially crippled. NFL is a brutal, life-shortening league. But, you know....go Bears!

I remember Dan Hampton having some severe early career injuries (more than one) but he settled in to have a long, productive NFL career. Seems more the exception than the rule.

I think a big difference is the sheer size of the players now. In Hampton's day, the Fridge was considered a freak because he was nearly 300 lbs. I doubt the 1985 Bears had a single lineman over 300 lbs; now high school lineman weigh that much. It's like it used to be minivans colliding, now it's 18-wheelers in head-on collisions. On every play.

Keep Fanzio.

[Thumbs Up]

And old song -- but I really cannot believe how few FA's have signed. I thought there would be a lot of action over the weekend. There must be a lot of lower-level FAs who are freaking out.

MLB Network is running out of excuses to run "slow offseason" stories...they don't even have good/strong rumors to run on at this point.

Something has to happen before the Convention. I hope.

I was thinking the same thing. Its kinda a tradition that the “impact” FA is signed prior to the Convention. Guess we’ll see...

dan haren 2018 watch is underway! woo!

Koyie Hill is in town!

Anyone seen Matt Murton lately?

No. Why would I care? Unless he could pitch and not walk anyone, of course...

"Orange Guy". Possibly the low point in baseball nicknames, but challenged by Matt Stairs epic "Stairsy".

Terrific college football game last night -- and, yes, that was Mel Tucker's defense giving up the soul-crushing touchdown to a wide-open receiver. Not sure, but that might have been Chris Conte at safety.

I was wondering if it was Chris Conte out there, too. If Vic Fangio leaves, could Mel get the Bears gig again?

Outstanding article regarding the Cubs bullpen by Michael Ernst at Cubs Den.


PHIL: Its cool they are keeping the site alive post-John.

Michael Ernst with an excellent series of articles on Cubs minor league players & prospects at Cubs Den:

1. link
2. link
3. link
4. link
5. link

"Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports that the Cubs remain in touch with top free agents starters Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, and Alex Cobb." not surprising...ready for whatever domino falls first to see if the cubs are seriously in on any of these 3 dudes.

Rene Rivera signed w Angels, 1 yr mlb contract. $ not reported. Avila still out there.

1y/2.8m good for him.

Wanted him. It shouldn't matter for the backup catcher, but I'm guessing front office shied away from his RH bat given Contreras? Seems silly given that Willson will start 135 games at catcher. Otherwise, only thing I can see is either that they're ready to turn over the keys to Caratini--which I guess I'm OK with--or they're eager to pay double the money to bring back Avila.

Avila, Ruiz, and A.J Ellis are still out there.

They had the chance to bring aboard Ellis last year when he was basically free, and chose not to. I'm thinking they're not impressed with his skillz.

Ryan Hanigan is a possibility, too. He was the back-up catcher for Jose Maddon and the Rays in 2014.

Also, Hanigan has hit 317/400/460 in 75 PA lifetime at Wrigley Field, and he's 5th among active MLB catchers in CS% (36%).

Of course he's no longer a front-line catcher, but the Cubs aren't really looking for one. They just need a serviceable back-up with MLB experience.

Hanigan makes sense. As does Angels out-of-options backup Carlos Perez. Wouldn't complain about Curt Casali, either, who is going to be in a crowded Angels catching camp.

The Angels granted Casali his release today.

Like Ryan Hanigan, Curt Casali was a back-up catcher for Joe Maddon's Rays in 2014, so he would be a definite possibility - IF - he thinks he'll get a better chance with the Cubs than he apparently thought he would get with the Angels. 

I think Grimm better not get greedy.

russell 3.2m bryant 10.85m MLBTR's prediction predictors needs to get a new crew... bryant's is a 1st year arb record, btw.

"Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cubs are one team "that's talked about Gerrit Cole lately."" the cubs rush to have the #30 ranked minor league prospect crew seems to be continuing in full force. hell, they might be the worst even without shedding another piece of talent. a.ademan, a.alzolay, a "we hope he's healthy" j.albertos are bringing up the front end rather weakly. throw in v.caratini, o.delacruz, and maybe a.lange...maybe j.tseng...maybe's all a bit sad after that.

Good news is the Cubs will have at least 4 top 100 draft picks and probably 5 assuming they don’t re-sign Arrieta (and don’t sign Cobb or another QO guy).

On second thought, when the other QO guys sign they’ll get bumped down a bit below 100 on that 4th/5th pick (currently 98). But still 4/5 within the top 105 or so.

So the Cubs were maybe a bit generous to Russell and Bryant (not saying he doesn't deserve it), both Boras clients, is it possible they were being nice to lure Arrieta back cheaper or Bryce Harper (both Boras clients also) next year?

at least j.heyward costs 20m in 2019 rather than 28m...too bad it's not 8m. 243/.315/.353 for the first 2 years...barf. if you're only going to hit like that, you can find a D-gem level minor leaguer to stink it up for you...most don't get that chance, though. it would be nice if he could at least pull it together in the post-season, but he's been straight up ineffective to the tune of 71PA with a .155 OB% to show for it. still, i dunno if they can swing harper (or want his attitude). the front-loaded heyward and zobrist contracts (28-20m heyward 2019, 16.5-12.5m zobrist 2019) will "save" the team loot, but arbitration eligible guys will eat heavily into that if they continue to kick ass. it'll be interesting if heyward has some weird ass "woah" season and decides to leave the 5/105m he's owed for 2019-2023, though. i'm rooting for him to do so. go heyward.

One of these days, I'm going to have to learn how to spell "whoa" like they do on the internet. But I don't think it would stop a horse.

"Justin Grimm requested $2.475 million and was offered $2.2 million by the Cubs when arbitration figures were exchanged on Friday."

He's coming off a shit season and basically taking a bad public look over $100K after agents' fees and taxes?

I suspect the sticking point between Justin Grimm and the Cubs isn't the money, it's that Grimm probably wants a guaranteed contract (so that if he is released prior to MLB Opening Day he gets 100% of his salary as termination pay), and the Cubs don't want to give him one. If Grimm and the Cubs go to an arbitration hearing and Grimm (win or lose) gets a 2018 contract by the ruling of an arbitration panel, the contract is - NOT - guaranteed, and the Cubs would owe Grimm only 45 days pay (about 25% of his salary) if he is released 15 days or less prior to MLB Opening Day or 30 days pay (about 15% of his salary) if he released more than 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day. (A non-guaranteed major league contract becomes guaranteed if the player is not released prior to Opening Day). When a player eligible for salary arbitration and a club agree to a contract without going to an arbitration hearing (especially when the difference in money between the two is minimal, as is the case with Grimm v. Cubs), it often is because the club guarantees the contract (as the Cubs probably did with Bryant, Russell, Hendricks, and Wilson). But depending on how the bullpen shakes out and how he pitches in Cactus League games and because he is out of minor league options, Grimm is actually a possible Spring Training release candidate, and the Cubs probably don't want to be on the hook for 100% of Grimm's salary (which would be the case if he signs a guaranteed contract to avoid an arbitration hearing) if he pitches himself off the 25-man roster during Spring Training. So if Grimm and the Cubs do agree to a contract prior to the arbitration hearing, it will very likely have to be a non-guaranteed contract, otherwise the Cubs would have no incentive to NOT go the hearing (even if Grimm wins).

Javier Baez
Kris Bryant
Eddie Butler (probable “Super Two”)
Carl Edwards Jr (possible “Super Two”)
Justin Grimm
Kyle Hendricks
Tommy LaStella
Mike Montgomery
Addison Russell
Kyle Schwarber

It will be the first time for Baez, Montgomery and Schwarber (and for Butler and Edwards if they qualify).

And as of now, the only Cubs Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2018 will be Justin Wilson, but Pedro Strop (2019 club option with buy-out) and Jason Heyward (player opt-out option post-2018) could be free-agents (TBD).

The MLB regular season (AKA the "championship season") is being increased from 183 days to 186 days in 2018 (MLB Opening Day for all teams will be Thursday March 29th), but for purposes of accruing MLB Service Time a "full season" remains 172 days and a player cannot accrue more than 172 days of MLB Service Time in a given season. So you might think that MLB clubs will now have to wait just three additional days (until day #16 instead of day #13) to call-up a player from the minors if the club wants to make sure the player cannot accrue more than 171 days of MLB Service Time (as the Cubs did by calling up Kris Bryant on the 13th day of the 2015 MLB regular season, insuring he could only accrue 171 days of MLB Service Time that season and delaying his free-agency until post-2021 instead of post-2020). HOWEVER.... Beginning with the 2017 MLB season - ALL - players on an MLB Active List or MLB Disabled List, MLB Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List, or MLB Paternity Leave List as of the last scheduled day of the MLB regular season (Sunday) who have not yet accrued 172 days of MLB Service Time will accrue one additional day of MLB Service Time (up to the maximum 172 days permitted to be accrued by a player in any one season) for every day the MLB regular season is extended beyond the final Sunday (so that a "meaningful" make-up game or games and/or a tie-breaker game or games can be played) - EVEN IF - the player's club is not one of the clubs playing beyond the final Sunday. Even though extending the MLB regular season beyond the final Sunday to play a "meaningful" make-up game and/or to play a tie-breaker game #163 or additional games 163+ is rare, it could happen. And since it cannot be known for sure in advance if the MLB regular season might have to be extended and if it is extended how many days it might have to be extended beyond the final Sunday (it could be just one day, but it actually could be two or three days depending on how many postponed games and tie-breaker games need to be played to determine post-season playoff teams), clubs cannot be sure that waiting until the 16th day after 2018 MLB Opening will be long enough to ensure that a player called up in April will not accrue a "full season" (172 days MLB Service Time). The Cubs knew for sure when they called-up Kris Bryant on the 13th day of the 2015 MLB season that he could not possibly accrue more than 171 days of MLB Service Time in the 2015 season (even if the MLB regular season was extended beyond the final Sunday) because players in 2015 did not accrue MLB Service Time if postponed games or tie-breaker games were played after the final Sunday. But that is no longer the case. I guess you could call the new rule the "Kris Bryant Rule" (even though it doesn't help Kris Bryant). This won't affect the Cubs in 2018, but it could affect clubs like the Braves (Ronald Acuna), Yankees (Gleyber Torres), Reds (Nick Senzel), and White Sox (Michael Kopech), where a hot-shot prospect could have a great Spring Training and appear to play or pitch his way onto his club's Opening Day 25-man roster, but the club wants to delay the player's MLB debut just long enough to add an additional year of club control. So MLB clubs trying to be slick better beware and not cut it too close!

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 hour 32 min ago (view)

    I believe this is the correct take. It's surprising that Len is leaving. He's good, but he had gotten a little too rationalizey over the past few years for me.

    However, it seemed he was heavily invested in the Cubs. His departure feels like there is some Ricketts-ish bullshit going on behind the scenes at Marquee that Len wants no part of. Anyway, I wish him well with the other Chicago team


  • crunch 2 hours 9 min ago (view)


    is everything the ricketts touch just falling to shit in 2021?  ....well, except their heavy investments in taking over the state of Nebraska politically with one of the sons and heavy investment in supportive state legislators...


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 39 min ago (view)

    This makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks Phil!

    (And that HR off Hader was unforgettable)


  • Hagsag 6 hours 3 min ago (view)



  • Wrigley Rat 11 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs for the White Sox radio booth.


  • Charlie 15 hours 48 min ago (view)

    I would be happy to see the Cubs no longer spend DH time on Victor Caratini. Provided there's a Kyle Schwarber or better alternative, of course.


  • Arizona Phil 23 hours 51 min ago (view)

    DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?). 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 34 min ago (view)

    I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point


  • waveland 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS. 


  • bradsbeard 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).   

    Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.   


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option


  • bradsbeard 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    CRUNCH: I got the impression that Ross had seen enough of Schwarber in LF, so implementing the universal DH may be necessary before Schwarber returns to the Cubs in 2021. I think the Cubs would be fine with Schwarber as their main DH going forward. 

    BTW, I strongly suspect that the universal DH will be included in the next CBA, but whether there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 is still TBA (which is really stupid, since clubs need to know right now for sure one way or the other whether or not there will be a DH in the N. L. in 2021). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft). 

    Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could.