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Cubs avoid arbitration with Willson Contreras

The Cubs catcher will be a valuable player again in 2020.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our coverage of arbitration signings on the last day before teams go to “file-and-trial,” we now have a number for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras:

For the first time, we have a player who signed for exactly the number projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Thus, in our running total, the Cubs remain $250,000 “ahead” of what was projected by MLBTR.

Contreras is one of the best-hitting catchers in the major leagues. Last year, he seemed headed for a 35-homer, 100-RBI season until another hamstring injury derailed his 2019 season. He still finished with a .272/.355/.533 season and 24 home runs in just 105 games. His 3.1 bWAR was the second-best total of his career (3.9 in 2017, the best). If he can put together a healthy year in 2020, that could be the best year for him to date. He will turn 28 next May.

That makes four of six arb-eligible Cubs announced as signed. We still await numbers for Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez, so stay tuned.