The Chicago Cubs young shortstop Addison Russell agreed to terms on a $644k deal for the 2017 season. He and Kris Bryant will each be arbitration eligible next season. With Russell taken care of, the attention turns to Bryant.
The process for pre-arbitration is often times overlooked. The Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year, $644k deal for the 2017 season. It’s a nice raise for the Cubs young shortstop as he’ll become arbitration eligible next season. Kris Bryant should also get a nice bump in salary as his agent Scott Boras and the Cubs are still in talks. Have you not heard of pre-arbitration before? I can’t say I blame you. It’s not normally an exciting process.
For a more detailed explanation, check out this post over at MLBTR from Jeff Todd in 2015. But what you will likely gather from it is that often times, players don’t see much of a raise–unless they’re coming off of a Rookie of the Year of MVP season (See Bryant). In the case of Russell, the raise could be a good faith precursor to getting a long-term deal done like they did with Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.
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In two seasons, Russell has been on the field for 293 of 323 possible games for the Cubs. It’s surprising to look at his numbers because I’m sure you’ll feel like me. It seems like he’s been better than this (.240/.314/.404 with 34 home runs,149 runs batted in). But he’s shown year-by-year improvement, and his defensive potential is something special. With Russell good to go for 2017, the attention now turns to Bryant.
Raises all around?
With Russell getting a raise, it’s set that Bryant will get one as well. The question is how big of one will it be? With arbitration coming up after next season, the Cubs aren’t going to go crazy–but Bryant clearly deserves more.
If you’re looking for a fair comparison for Bryant, Mike Trout and Ryan Howard might be the two most likely you could use. Trout has seen the highest total when he earned $1 million in 2014. Trout had won the AL Rookie of the Year and had finished second twice in MVP voting. Howard had the biggest raise over the minimum and was coming off of a Rookie of the Year and MVP, just like Bryant.
These are just a few of the reasons the Cubs have to be mindful with deals in the near future. The Cubs could continue to sign these young players, but then they’ll watch their luxury tax go up. This was the first year the Cubs have paid it, and it won’t be the last. It’s also the reason the Cubs will likely have to let Jake Arrieta walk after this season.
While players like Russell, Bryant, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber are under team control for several more years, they’re going to get paid more slowly before they all cash in. It’s hard to think about one of these–or more–not playing their entire careers for the Cubs. But it’s a business, and this is just one of the many wheels that make it go around.