The Chicago Cubs had only a handful of players that were eligible for salary arbitration this season, and they have reportedly reached deals with two of those key contributors on Friday.
According to multiple reports, the Cubs reached a new one-year contract with reliever Hector Rondon. That deal will reportedly pay the former closer $5.8 million next season and will lock him into a role at the back-end of the team’s bullpen.
In addition, the Cubs also avoided arbitration with Justin Grimm, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1.8 million, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Both players will still be arbitration eligible next year as well, meaning that the Cubs maintain at least one more year of control before Rondon hits free agency and two more years before Grimm can.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Friday’s deadline to come to an agreement before arbitration figures are exchanged may have passed without new deals for starting pitcher Jake Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop. There is still time to get a new deal agreed to before any hearing could take place, but things are likely going to be tough with Arrieta as he’ll be a free agent at the end of the 2017 season.
As for what the new deals mean for the players that have signed, it seems as though Rondon will remain in an eighth inning role with the Cubs next season. With the acquisition of Wade Davis, Rondon doesn’t appear to be in line to close games, a job that he lost last season when the Cubs got Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Yankees.
Grimm likely won’t see an elevated role either, as Strop will likely be the seventh inning man and guys like Koji Uehara and Carl Edwards Jr. figure to be more prominent members of the team’s relief corps.