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Chicago Cubs: Here’s where payroll stands heading into the offseason

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Chicago Cubs / Willson Contreras
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Chicago Cubs: At least one arbitration-eligible guys will receive a contract

There are currently five guys within the Cubs organization that are arbitration-eligible going into 2022, per Spotrac. This includes Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Nick Martini, Trayce Thompson and Jonathan Holder. Note that Contreras, Happ and Holder were the three arb-eligible players who signed MLB contracts for this year.

Contreras is going to be interesting. While nothing is set in stone about his future, it is probably best to assume he is going to be a building block for the future. He has one year of team control remaining before becoming a free agent in 2023. He made $6,650,000 this year in his next-to-last trip through arbitration. A big question to ask is if Contreras will get an extension this offseason seeing as he has just that one remaining year of control. What we do know is that there are only three ways this can go this winter: he’s tendered a deal in arbitration to play for 2022, the two sides hammer out a new deal or he’s the latest in a long line of trade departures.

Happ is another question. A few months ago he was looking like a non-tender candidate with his struggles at the plate. However, his recent resurgence puts that into question. One could wonder if they tender him a contract and look to find a trade partner. Happ made $4.1 million this year after being the team’s most productive position player in 2020. If Happ does indeed get tendered a deal and he stays with the Cubs next year, it will not break the bank by any means.

The rest of the arb-eligible players are organizational depth at the most. Martini has played up and down between Triple-A and the Majors. He has had success in Iowa but not so much in the big leagues. Thompson has bounced around several organizations since his MLB debut with the Sox in 2015 and is, at most, the final guy on an MLB roster. Holder has not pitched in the Majors this year due to a shoulder injury.