Cubs arbitration projections likely signal the end of some fan favorites

The Chicago Cubs will have nine players eligible for arbitration this winter and one player in particular likely will not be returning to the team.

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Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

In a sign that Hot Stove season is not that far off for the Chicago Cubs, MLB Trade Rumors took the break in post-season play on Friday to release their annual projection of arbitration salaries for players that will be eligible this winter.

The Cubs have a total of nine players that will be eligible for arbitration. As a reminder, second baseman Nico Hoerner's three-year contract extension goes into effect this upcoming season and the Cubs have bought out all of Hoerner's arbitration-eligible seasons.

"Cubs (9)

Codi Heuer (4.000): $785K
Nick Madrigal (3.163): $1.9MM
Mike Tauchman (3.143): $2MM
Nick Burdi (3.140): $800K
Julian Merryweather (3.109): $1.3MM
Patrick Wisdom (3.058): $2.6MM
Adbert Alzolay (3.050): $2.5MM
Mark Leiter Jr. (3.031): $1.6MM
Justin Steele (2.143): $4.1MM"

MLB Trade Rumors

It is no surprise to see that starting pitcher Justin Steele has the highest projection for the Cubs players who will be eligible for arbitration this winter. Outside of Steele's final three starts of the regular season, the Cubs starting pitcher was in line to be the National League Cy Young Award winner. It wouldn't be a complete surprise if the Cubs approach Steele with a contract extension this winter to buy out his arbitration years.

After Steele is Patrick Wisdom with the second-highest projection. Wisdom is projected to earn $2.6MM through arbitration this winter and that likely will be a number that will lead to his departure this winter.

Wisdom had a blistering start to the 2023 season but if you take out the first month of the season, the corner infielder slashed .182/.271/.426 with 13 home runs and a wRC+ of 87. Wisdom played sparingly during the second half of the season which should be an indicator that he likely has played his last game with the team.

The same can be said for outfielder Mike Tauchman. Tauchman was an unsung hero of the Cubs' season but the duration of the full season has exposed his limitations as an everyday player. With Pete Crow-Armstrong and Alexander Canario reaching the Major League level, the Cubs would be better off spending the $2MM elsewhere.

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