Tuesday, November 30th at 8 p.m. Eastern time was the deadline to tender contracts towards arbitration-eligible players. The Chicago Cubs tendered 30 contracts, including those of Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. This means that both Contreras and Happ will enter the arbitration process and barring something drastic, be playing for the Cubs in 2022.
30 players from the #Cubs 40-man roster were tendered 2022 contracts today:
Willson Contreras, Ian Happ (both arbitration-eligible) and 28 players not yet eligible for arbitration.
The Cubs non-tendered RHP Jason Adam and OF Michael Hermosillo. pic.twitter.com/0CHqJs6QDN
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 1, 2021
Jason Adam and Michael Hermosillo are Free Agents
The opposite of having a contract tendered is having it non-tendered. Relief pitcher Jason Adam and Outfielder Michael Hermosillo both were non-tendered, meaning they immediately become free agents.
Jason Adam only pitched 24.1 innings in 2 seasons with the Cubs, allowing 12 earned runs in that period. His WHIP of 1.5 last season meant moving on from a 30-year-old reliever was the correct choice.
Michael Hermosillo hit over .300 with Iowa before being promoted to Chicago’s roster, but he struggled once he got there. In 16 games he hit .194 before his season ended early with a forearm injury. The injury, his inconsistent hitting, and yesterday’s Clint Frazier signing made the decision to non-tender his contract easy.
Clint Frazier Signing
The exit of Hermosillo means that one 27-year-old outfielder has been replaced with another. Clint Frazier comes over from the Yankees following the worst season of an otherwise solid start to his career.
Last season, Frazier slashed .186/.317/.317 while hitting 5 home runs in 66 games played. This brings his career numbers down to .239/.327/.434 with an OPS of .761. Even after a down year last year, Baseball-reference.com projects Frazier to hit 21 home runs and drive in 69 runs in a full season.
Defensively, Frazier is certainly capable. He played in left and right for the Yankees, only committing two errors in the last two seasons. His fielding percentage was .984 and .988 respectively for 2020 and 2021. Frazier joins new signee Harold Ramirez on the bench for opening day. Jason Heyward’s contract is up after the 2023 season, a good campaign in 2022 from either Clint Frazier or Harold Ramirez could mean they become the Right fielder for the Cubs in years to come.
Roster on December 1st
In terms of big free-agent splashes, the Cubs have certainly not made that yet; and it would be surprising at this point if they do. With 2018 1st round picks Nico Hoerner at Shortstop and Nick Madrigal at Second, the middle infield should be set for a while. Willson Contreras will catch in 2022, Ian Happ will play Left with Heyward in Right. This leaves Centerfield, the corner infield positions, and pitching as the areas where the Cubs can still make substantive additions.
Rafael Ortega was very solid for the Cubs last season, hitting nearly .300 in 103 games played. However, after only playing in 143 games since 2012 before last year, there has to be a more consistent option for Chicago’s everyday centerfielder. Ian Happ has proven that he can play center, which would open room for Nick Castellanos or Jorge Soler. Their addition would certainly supply more power to the middle of the lineup.
It remains to be seen if the answer to first base and third base will come from free agents, the minors, or if Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel will shine for the Cubs again in 2022. Chase Strumpf, the #23 ranked prospect is working his way up to play third, but likely will not be ready until 2023. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are also still available, but it seems unlikely that the two sides could come to a deal now when they were unable to do so the last year.
Collective Bargaining Agreement Expires at Midnight
Tonight on Wednesday, December 1st, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires. This expiration stops all free-agent deals from being made, so there will be a pause button on the rest of the Cubs’ offseason moves until that new CBA is reached. Dayn Perry of CBSsports.com writes that it, “would be surprising if the lockout of 2021 lasted long enough to alter the 2022 regular season schedule.“, meaning we will still get baseball which is always good news.