The Cubs have agreed with star third baseman Kris Bryant on a record-setting pre-arbitration salary, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports. Fresh off of a year in which he won the National League’s Most Valuable Player award, Bryant will take home $1.05MM.
Chicago also shared some of its World Series wealth with righty Kyle Hendricks, who’ll earn a hefty $760,500, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hendricks was another key performer for the Cubs, turning in an outstanding campaign that saw him land third in the N.L. Cy Young voting. Larger-than-usual salaries are also on tap for Addison Russell ($644K), Javier Baez ($609K), and Kyle Schwarber ($565,500), per Wittenmyer’s report.
Bryant’s payday doesn’t blow the prior record out of the water, but does land a bit north of Mike Trout’s 2014 salary of $1MM. Recently, standout Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was renewed at $950K after his own high-quality season. Notably, unlike Trout and Betts, Bryant has yet to achieve his second full year of MLB service — owing to the team’s controversial decision to delay his MLB debut in 2015.
The 25-year-old star will reach arbitration next year, though, as he’ll easy qualify for Super Two status. If he posts anything approaching the numbers from his first two season — including a composite .284/.377/.522 batting line and 65 total home runs — Bryant will earn a massive raise in his first trip through the arb process.
If the sides discuss a larger contract, Trout could again provide a target. His six-year, $144.5MM pact, which replaced the above-noted arb deal in 2014, was the second-largest contract ever given to a 2+ player. Buster Posey still holds the record for that service class at $159MM over eight years. Odds are that the Scott Boras-repped Bryant would be looking for quite a bit more money than either of those two players; certainly, it’s arguable that the market has moved northward since that time, and the Trout contract seems a notable bargain in retrospect for a player of that quality (even given the remaining club control the organization had).
Hendricks, 27, was in the 2+ arb class, but fell well shy of Super Two eligibility. After a solid 2015 effort, he turned one of the most surprising campaigns in the league last year. Over 190 frames, Hendricks worked to a National League-leading 2.13 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He, too, will be in line for big first-year arb earnings if he can replicate that success.