Kyle Hendricks became the first of the Cubs’ seven arbitration-eligible players to agree to a 2019 salary, settling very early Friday for $7.405 million. The agreement was reached at just after midnight CST and was first reported by Jon Heyman on Twitter. The new salary comes in around $200,000 less than projected by MLB Trade Rumors, but represents a raise of about $3.2 million for the righty.
So hey, if the Cubs can save around $34.8 million on their six remaining arb-eligible players, they might actually be able to make a legit run at Bryce Harper.
In all seriousness, the Cubs probably will try to save a little bit here and there — especially on Addison Russell, who’s projected at $4.3 million — through the filing process. Friday is the deadline for teams to exchange figures with players, at which point they can reach a settlement or proceed to a hearing at which a panel determines whether one side or the other is “right.”
Justin Grimm became the first Cubs player in the Theo Epstein era to go to the arbitration panel, an ill-advised move that forced him to take the team’s offer. Given their tight budget, the Cubs are expected to go with more of a file-and-trial approach that sees them taking a harder line on their salary offers. But that runs contrary to the more player-friendly approach they’ve taken in the past, so we’ll see.
Among the remaining arb-eligible players, Kris Bryant will have the highest overall salary and Javy Baez figures to get the biggest raise from last year’s $657K. Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Mike Montgomery, and Carl Edwards, Jr. are the remaining players who have yet to lock in their figures for this coming season.