ESA, Ariz. — Outfielder Ian Happ won his arbitration case against the Cubs on Friday, according to league sources.
Happ will make $4.1 million in 2021; the team filed at $3.25 million. He was the Cubs’ breakout star in 2020 and ended their search for a leadoff hitter, a problem that had plagued them since Dexter Fowler left in 2017.
A switch hitter, Happ took the opportunity to play every day and ran with it, beating out former Cub Albert Almora for the job. In the 60-game season, he led the team in almost every major offensive category.
Happ had a slash line of .258/.361/.505 and a team-leading 12 home runs and 28 RBI with a 131 OPS+. He also led the Cubs in hits, doubles and OPS and was tied for the team lead with 30 walks.
It’s the first arbitration case the Cubs have had since reliever Justin Grimm in 2018 and only the third since 1993.
Williams’ dad is thrilled
Right-hander Trevor Williams is happy to be in Chicago and playing for the Cubs, but there might not be anyone more excited than his dad, Richard, who worked as an usher at Wrigley Field and watched Cubs greats Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins. The opportunity to see his son play on the North Side is a dream come true.
“He was thrilled; he was over the moon,” Williams said. “He is a die-hard Cubs fan. He loves the Cubs. He’s always loved the Cubs. I have pictures of myself in Cubs onesies when I was younger. I was just a Cubs fan by family and by blood. Obviously, I didn’t grow up in the Chicago area. I grew up in San Diego and became more of a Padres fan. But we still have a lot of family there. My grandma called me immediately and offered her two-bedroom house to our family of five there so we can stay with her during the season.
I was born and raised in Chicago. Watched Ernie Banks hit is 500th HR in May of 1970. I worked 4 summers as an usher at Wrigley. This is a dream. Wake me up. This pic was at Wrigley in 2018. It was so cold that night. I am warm tonight. pic.twitter.com/kzpV7hWXAQ— RICHARD WILLIAMS (@SDRICH7777) January 31, 2021
“There’s gonna be familiarity in Chicago, even though I’m not from here. But my dad was thrilled. It was his dream for me to become a major-league baseball player. To put on the Cubs uniform and have me play for his favorite team is just icing on the cake.”
Cubs re-sign Maybin
Outfielder Cameron Maybin reportedly re-signed with the Cubs on a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league camp.
The Cubs acquired Maybin from the Tigers at the trade deadline last year. In 18 games with the Cubs, he hit .250 (13-for-52) with five RBI and three stolen bases.