Arbitration salary projections were released back in October and there are six Cubs players that will most likely get non-tendered out of the 10 that are arbitration eligible this offseason.
As always, MLB Trade Rumors does an amazing job on these arbitration estimates so you should definitely check them out here for all 30 MLB teams. Anyway, here are the arbitration projections for the Cubs.
Cubs Projected Arbitration Salaries
Ian Happ: $10.6 million
Steven Brault: $1.7 million
Franmil Reyes: $6 million
Rowan Wick: $1.5 million
Alec Mills: $800K
Brad Wieck: $800K
Nico Hoerner: $2.2 million
Codi Heuer: $800K
Nick Madrigal: $1.1 million
Rafael Ortega: $1.7 million
So, the four guys that are no-brainers to come back and get tendered a contract are Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer. The other six? Maybe you can make a case for one or two, but at this point I’m expecting the Cubs to non-tender them.
The Cubs picked up right-handed hitter Franmil Reyes in August, claiming him off waivers after the Guardians DFA’d him. And hey, at first I was all on-board for the Cubs to automatically bring him back for the 2023 season. In August, Reyes slashed .273/.301/.511, with four home runs in 88 at-bats. Solid and for a moment you thought that he had tapped back into that power that he showed in 2021, when he hit 30 home runs for Cleveland.
But man, it got ugly in September, when Reyes only hit .174/.288/.203, in 69 at-bats. He still is only 27-years-old, but for a projected $6 million I think that’s an easy pass for the Cubs, who could still be interested in bringing him back on a much cheaper deal. The potential is still there, and maybe 2022 was just a fluke because Reyes does have a career .470 slugging percentage. Yet, you kind of want a more sure-thing production wise as someone who will only be a designated hitter on your roster.
You know, maybe a guy like José Abreu.
The Cubs out-righted Reyes to the minors last week and he elected free agency.
This one stings for me personally. I’ve always liked Rowan Wick in the Cubs’ bullpen and thought this season was his time to shine and establish himself as either a great set-up man or take the reins as the closer after the trade deadline. Unfortunately, Wick blew his chance in the second half. He just wasn’t consistent throughout the entire year and although we did see a stretch or two of greatness you didn’t really feel confident seeing him work through trouble on the mound.
Wick’s stuff didn’t look as good as before and he got hit hard plenty in 2022. Minor league deal with an invite to spring training, but he’s a non-tender guy for me right now.
To be fair to Rafael Ortega, I’m sure he can be a great bench guy with most teams in MLB, but I think his time with the Cubs should be over. Obviously great in 2021, but his offense unsurprisingly regressed in 2022. He was OK against righties, posting a respectable .331 OBP against them, however, Ortega is unplayable against left-handed pitching and his defense in center field is average at best. Plus, the base running this past season was infuriating.
Again, minor league deal, but I think Ortega will catch on with a different team this offseason.
These figures are kind of meaningless because what’s $1.7 million to the Cubs, but every team is going to want to save any money they can. Steven Brault is fine as a guy you want to give a chance, but there are plenty of those type of pitchers in the minors for the Cubs. Yeah, non-tender.
The Cubs out-righted Brault to the minors last week and he elected free agency.
Gotta feel for Brad Wieck. So many health issues the past few years from an abnormal heartbeat to Tommy John surgery. Like a few of the other guys, you’d think the Cubs would non-tender Wieck and then offer him a minor league deal to return to the club.
The Cubs out-righted Wieck to the minors last week and he elected free agency.
Similar to Rafael Ortega, it was nice seeing Alec Mills find success at the major league level, but then he was bad and injured and bad. Cubs are fortunate to have great pitching depth and even though I do like to say that you can never have enough pitching, I think the Cubs are fine without Mills moving forward.
The Cubs out-righted Mills to the minors last week and he elected free agency.
So, what do you think. Giving any of these guys another shot or are you done with them?
And check out this week’s Pinwheels And Ivy Podcast for more Cubs talk.