Chicago Cubs: Get Manny Machado! Get Bryce Harper! No, get real.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Looking at the Cubs’ arbitration and free agents schedule

Kris Bryant already hit his first arbitration year as a Super 2 player and set an MLB record high arbitration agreement.  He has three more arbitration years left before hitting free agency in 2022.  It is unlikely, as a Boras client, he would agree to a long-term buy out of his remaining arbitration years and several years past his free agent season.  Kyle Hendricks also hit arbitration this year and has two years left before free agency.

More from Cubbies Crib

Pedro Strop is a free agent after this season, and most of the core of the current team hits arbitration after this season. And it’s a long list. We’re talking Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Mike Montgomery.

By the start of the 2020 season add Albert Almora and Carl Edwards to that list of players in arbitration.  And Anthony Rizzo hits the first year of team options and could enter free agency at the end of the 2021 season.

On top of all that are the big dollar contracts for Jon Lester, Jason Heyward and Yu Darvish.

Chicago Cubs payroll now and in the future

Projecting payroll for any club is tricky as players and numbers shift constantly.  Right now the Cubs payroll is at $183 million, about $14 million under the threshold.  Looking down the road without being able to predict how all those arbitration deals will play out, we know Bryant will likely set a record second-year arbitration settlement.

Estimates are that moving forward the payroll will be at least $185 million in 2019, $198 million in 2020, and $211 million in 2021.  That’s without factoring in all the salary adjustments of the previously mentioned core players.