Just a short time after posting this article saying Kris Bryant hadn’t signed yet for 2018, news comes that he has, in fact, signed:
Bryant gets first-year arb record $10.85 million. #Cubs— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) January 12, 2018
That breaks the record set in 2008 by the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, $10 million.
That dollar amount is $1.85 million more than I had estimated in my payroll analysis last month. And it eats up the “savings” of $1.125 million I had estimated the Cubs had made in their signings of Kyle Hendricks, Justin Wilson and Tommy La Stella, all posted earlier Friday.
It’s good that Bryant and the Cubs came to an agreement long before any hearing date was set, and likely not long after figures were submitted, as the deadline for doing so was noon CT Friday.
Two arb-eligible Cubs now remain unsigned, Addison Russell and Justin Grimm. Russell, like Bryant, is a Scott Boras client. Given the Bryant signing, perhaps a Russell signing isn’t too far behind.
UPDATE: Yes, a Russell signing wasn’t far behind.
#Cubs avoid arbitration with Bryant ($10.85 million) and Russell ($3.2 million). KB's is record for 1st year arb eligible player— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) January 12, 2018
Russell’s deal is also higher than my $2.5 million estimate. That leaves only Grimm as an unsigned arb-eligible player.