Chicago Cubs are failing in one key regard of roster management

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: One less extension candidate on the team’s roster

Before the first accusations of domestic violence, Addison Russell would have been one of the players the Cubs would have been looking to sign to a contract extension. However, now his ex-wife has gone public with a first-hand account of what happened and Russell was suspended for the end of the 2018 season and the beginning of the 2019 campaign.

The flexibility of the team control the arbitration system provides and the ability to quickly part ways with Russell if they so choose is a cold reality that is to the Cubs benefit with his situation he has put them in. The front office is not going to now look to give that up with Russell. They don’t have to make a commitment to him for more than a year at a time. And even this year he may still be a candidate to be cut in spring training and receive only the 30 or 45 days termination pay.

In addition to arbitration-eligible players, the Cubs also have a few pre-arbitration who might be worth considering for a contract extension such as Willson Contreras, Happ and Albert Almora.

Contreras was an international signee who little was thought of at the time. So he did not get a big signing bonus. The Cubs absolutely should be trying to sign him to a contract extension. Contreras is one of the best catchers in the game and is coming off of a down year. The crisis in his home country of Venezuela and his workload might have had something to do with Contreras’ poor performance.

Contreras’ value should only go up from here.  So the window of opportunity to sign him to an extension may be closing. Contreras will be eligible for arbitration after this coming season.

Happ and Almora were both first-round draft picks. They received significant signing bonuses. They haven’t carved out full-time spots in the Cubs starting lineup. So it may be difficult for both sides to agree on a multi-year deal of compensation for their current and future value.