The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration with three of their biggest stars Friday afternoon, as they agreed to terms on 2021 salaries with Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras.

Báez and Bryant are slated to be free agents following the 2021 season, while Contreras will have one more year of arbitration before he hits free agency after 2022.

The trio of star players are coming off substandard 2020 seasons, but all three got a pay bump for 2021. Báez, a two-time starting All-Star and gold glove winner last season will earn $11.65 million this year.

Baez Avoids Arbitration

Báez and the Cubs came to terms on a $10 million salary last year before the start of the 2020 season.

Bryant, Davies Avoid Arbitration

Meanwhile, after agreeing to an $18.6 million salary last winter, Bryant and the Cubs agreed on a $19.5 million salary for 2021. Right-handed pitcher Zach Davies also avoided arbitration with the team and agreed to terms on an $8.63 million salary in 2021.

Contreras Avoids Arbitration

As for two-time All-Star catcher, Contreras will earn a tad bit under $7 million this upcoming season.

Contreras Trade Rumors

Obviously, teams want to get deals done and avoid arbitration so that they have a better grasp of their payroll for the season, but for the Cubs it also benefits them to agree on terms as soon as possible because they might be trading these players.

The salary for Contreras came in a little under the highest projection from MLB Trade Rumors and other teams will certainly take notice now that his number is set. The latest rumblings around the league are that the Cubs and Marlins have been discussing Contreras in trade talks, although those don’t seem to be too serious at the moment.

Ian Happ

The only big player left who is arbitration eligible is switch-hitting outfielder Ian Happ. No one has reported any agreement between the Cubs and Happ, who is in his first arbitration eligible year.

The 26-year-old has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team since he came back up to the majors in July 2019. Following his four-month long demotion to Triple-A out of spring training, Happ slashed .260/.350/.530, with 23 home runs in 387 plate appearances, good enough for a 129 wRC+ through the end of the 2020 season.

Happ was amazing for the majority of the shortened 2020 regular season, posting a 1.113 OPS through Sept. 5. However, he cooled off and it’s easy to point to his eye injury factoring into his late-season slump. Yet, Happ did show that he can be counted on to be the team’s leadoff hitter if the team makes no major additions this offseason, which so far the team has been selling rather than buying.

Because it is Happ’s first arbitration year, he might be holding out for a little more money, as this first figure will set the framework for how much he can earn through the arbitration process for the next three years.

Since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over the Cubs only one player has gone to an arbitration hearing and that was right-handed relief pitcher Justin Grimm in 2018. The Cubs ended up winning that case in what was a difference of $235,000.

Will Happ become the second player to go to an arbitration hearing with the Cubs now that Hoyer is the man in charge? Or could an extension be on the horizon for Happ? We’ll keep you updated.