Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, the 2016 National League MVP, broke the 10-year-old salary record for a first-year arbitration-eligible player when he and the Cubs settled on a one-year, $10.85 million contract to avoid an arbitration hearing.
The Phillies and first baseman Ryan Howard – who also had an MVP and Rookie of the Year award at that service-time level — set the former record for a one-year deal of $10 million in 2008.
Bryant, who has received MVP votes all three seasons in the big leagues, hit .295 with 29 homers and a .946 OPS last season for the Cubs — who have advanced to at least the National League Championship Series in each of his seasons.
The Cubs paid Bryant $1.05 million in 2017, which was a record by $50,000 for a pre-arbitration-eligible player.
Bryant is among the five arbitration-eligible Cubs who reached agreements by mid afternoon on the deadline day for unsigned players to exchange salary arbitration figures with the club.
The others agreeing to contracts:
- Left-handed reliever Justin Wilson, who struggled with command after being acquired in a trade from Detroit in July, settled for $4.25 million.
- First-year-eligible starter Kyle Hendricks, the major-league ERA leader in 2016, got $4.175 million.
- Shortstop Addison Russell, a 2016 All-Star who struggled through injuries and off-the-field issues last season, agreed to a $3.2 million deal.
- And utility infielder Tommy La Stella signed a $950,000 contract.
That left only right-hander Justin Grimm, who was expected to reach an agreement Friday, among the Cubs’ arb guys.
Earlier Friday, the Blue Jays settled with third baseman Josh Donaldson – the former Cubs farmhand – for an overall one-year arbitration contract record of $23 million. Donaldson is in his final winter of eligibility.
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