3:07pm: The Cubs will pay Javier Baez an even $10MM, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). That’s $700K north of his projected earning point. The sides are said to be interested in hammering out a longer-term contract, which remains possible after working out a 2020 salary.
3:00pm: Several other key Cubs players also have deals, per ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers (Twitter links). Catcher Willson Contreras receives a $4.5MM salary, right on the MLBTR projection. Outfielder Kyle Schwarber will play for $7.01MM, south of the $8MM that the model predicted.
That’s right on the projected valuation produced by the MLBTR/Matt Swartz model, which pegged Bryant at $18.5MM. The model seemed to (and did) match up with the real-world situation, as Matt explained in a detailed look at Bryant’s case. It’s a nice raise on his $12.9MM salary from 2019.
Bryant, who recently turned 28, continues to churn out productive seasons. He was limited somewhat by injuries in 2018 but appeared in 147 contests in the just-completed campaign, slashing .282/.382/.521 and driving 31 balls over the fence.
This settles one of the winter’s open questions involving Bryant and the Cubs — but certainly not the most interesting one. We’re still awaiting the outcome of a service-time grievance brought by the player surrounding the eyebrow-raising timing of his initial promotion to the majors. The resolution of that situation promises to impact ongoing trade talks involving the long-time Chicago star. It seems clear that the organization is interested in exploring scenarios involving Bryant and other top players, though it’s unclear as yet whether he or any other key piece will end up on the move.