The Cubs have 10 players eligible for salary arbitration. Jake Arrieta is the biggest of the group and will receive the largest pay increase. Chris Coghlan, Justin Grimm, Jonathan Herrera, Clayton Richard, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Taylor Teagarden, Justin Turner and Travis Wood are arbitration eligible for the 2016 season.
The deadline to tender contracts to players for the 2016 season is Dec. 2. The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player under the current regime. The last time the organization was not able to avoid arbitration was 2010. The Cubs and Ryan Theriot could not find a middle ground before the hearing.
Theo Epstein talked Thursday about salary arbitration and how the pay increases will impact the Major League team’s payroll in 2016.
“When you play well, you play well because of good players who went out and performed well on the field so they make more money in arbitration and you’re thrilled about that. It means they contributed to a winning season and they deserve raises.”
“We game plan for that stuff. We kind of update it every couple of weeks throughout the course of the season what guys are likely to make in arbitration. It’s going to put a pretty big dent in our available dollars to spend this winter, but it just means that you have more good players and they deserve it by moving through the system.”
“I look at that as more procedural than anything else,” Epstein said. “We have a great bunch of guys in the front office working on arbitration. We’ll sit down and have the right conversations at the right time, get these guys signed up and move forward together.”
Of the 10 arbitration eligible players, Jonathan Herrera and Taylor Teagarden are the most likely to be non-tendered. Herrera was paid $900,000 and could likely be re-signed for less than the $1-1.4 million it would take to avoid arbitration with him. Teagarden signed a minor league contract with the Cubs last winter and was added back to the 40-man roster during the post-season. Teagarden will not spend the off-season occupying a valuable spot on the 40-man roster. The Cubs can always re-sign him to a minor league contract if they would likel to keep him in the organization. With the lack of near big league ready pitching in the organization, the Cubs should tender a contract to Jacob Turner. Turner spent the season on the DL and would likely avoid arbitration with the same salary he was paid in 2015, $1 million.
Jake Arrieta is arbitration eligible for the second time. Arrieta made $3.63 million in 2015 and should receive between $10-11 million for 2016. This is Coghlan’s third arbitration year. Chris Coghlan settled with the Cubs last winter on a $2.505 million contract. Coghlan should see his salary increase to between $3.3-3.8 million.
Justin Grimm earned a little more than the league minimum ($532,000) in 2015 and should see his salary increase to between $800,000-1.2 million. Clayton Richard signed a minor league deal with the Pirates that should have called for league minimum ($507,500). If that is the case, Richard should see his salary increase to between $1-1.4 million.
The Cubs have two late inning relievers that will see a sizeable increase in 2016. Hector Rondon made $544,000 and in his first year of arbitration eligibility should receive between $3.2-3.9 million. Pedro Strop is a Super Two player. In his third year of salary arbitration, Strop should go from $2.525 million to between $4.3-4.5 million.
Travis Wood started the year in the rotation and ended the season in the bullpen. Wood is a trade candidate because it would be difficult for the Cubs to pay him between $6.2-6.8 million to be a reliever. Wood was paid $5.685 million in 2015, his second year of arbitration eligibility. Wood is too valuable to be non-tendered and will either be moved or report to Spring Training as starting pitching depth.
If the Cubs tender contracts to all 10 players, the same group that was paid $18,336,000 in 2015 will count for between $30,800,000-35,000,000 of the 2016 payroll.
Theo Epstein did not provide a number Thursday for the 2016 payroll, but it is expected to increase from this past season. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Cubs Opening Day payroll in 2015 was $120,337,385.
The Cubs do not have to tender contracts to all of their salary arbitration eligible players or the players that are automatic renewals (0-3 men). Players can be non-tendered and would become free agents at that point. Players can also be traded, even after their current team has offered them a contract for the upcoming season.
Reports from Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference
- Cubs Invite Joe Maddon’s Entire Coaching Staff Back for Next Season
- Cubs Would Like to Add at Least One Quality Starting Pitcher
- Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference was Chock-Full of Information
- Cubs Will Continue Playing Kyle Schwarber Behind the Plate and in the Outfield
- Cubs Plan to Approach Scott Boras about a Long-Term Extension for Jake Arrieta
- Cubs Thought Miguel Montero’s Season Was a Tale of Two Halves