Next Friday, January 13 (the first Friday the 13th of 2017!) is the deadline for arb-eligible players and their teams to submit arbitration figures if they have not agreed to terms on a contract by then. (Players can actually file for a hearing before submitting figures this coming Tuesday, January 10.)
At that point a hearing date, which will be sometime between January 30 and February 17, will be scheduled. Of course, it’s still possible for the parties to come to an agreement before a hearing, and many of these do in fact get settled before it comes to the three-person panel deciding on a salary for 2017.
The Cubs have four arb-eligibles for this coming season: Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.
MLB Trade Rumors’ arbitration tracker has the following salary estimates for those four players:
Arrieta: $16.8 million
Rondon: $5.7 million
Strop: $5.5 million
Grimm: $1.8 million
All of those seem in the “reasonable” range given the player’s talent and experience levels. Thus I’d expect most or all of them to sign before going to a hearing, assuming they and the Cubs are both in those salary ballparks.
The last Cub to go to an arb hearing was Ryan Theriot in 2010. Theo & Co. thus have not had anyone go to a hearing since they took over the front office after the 2011 season. Strop had a hearing scheduled before 2015, but settled before then, and Arrieta had a hearing scheduled last year, but also signed before the arbitrators heard salary figures.
Presuming the four players involved file salary figures close to MLBTR’s estimates, I would expect all of them to sign before any hearing happens.