Though they didn’t have to, the Cubs upped Kris Bryant’s salary to $652,000. While that’s a tremendous bargain for a player of his skill level, it’s not something every team would have done. Elsewhere in the NL Central, the Pirates made waves with their refusal to offer staff ace Gerrit Cole a bigger share of their ill-gotten booty. Cole claims the Bucs even threatened to reduce the $541,000 offer, a mark that matches what he earned last year between his base and a whopping $10,000 bonus for making the All-Star team.
But hey, he did get to keep the same bonus for 2016.
The Pirates had actually only offered $538,000 initially, as it was explained to Cole that $7,000 is the maximum raise allowed by Pittsburgh’s salary system for players who are not yet arbitration-eligible. If my math is right, and I think it is since I’m using a calculator, that would represent a 1.3% increase. I mean, it’s almost as though they just want to piss off their best pitcher. Weird.
But enough about the Pirates, let’s move on to the Cubs, who agreed to deals with 20 other players on Friday. If that sounds weird, it’s really just a function of the way the system works. The players between 0 and 3 years of service time aren’t entitled to raises over the minimum salary of $507,500, but teams can pay them a bit more if they like. Jesse Rogers had all the figures over at ESPN earlier.
Other notable contracts include Kyle Schwarber ($522,000), Addison Russell($527,000), Tommy La Stella ($532,000), Kyle Hendricks ($541,000) andJavier Baez ($521,000).
Also being re-signed:
Right-handed pitchers Dallas Beeler, Aaron Brooks, Carl Edwards Jr., Pierce Johnson, Spencer Patton and Neil Ramirez.
Left-handed pitchers Eric Jokisch, C.J. Riefenhauser and Zac Rosscup.
Catcher Willson Contreras.
Infielders Arismendy Alcantara, Jeimer Candelario, Christian Villanueva and Dan Vogelbach.
Outfielder Matt Szczur.
Okay, I have to get in one more dig at the Pirates, who are paying Gerrit Cole as much as the Cubs will pay Kyle Hendricks this season. I like Hendricks, but come on. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking at this and thinking he’d be a nice guy for the Cubs to try to pry away, though the cost of acquisition and the fact that you’d be swapping talent within the division would certainly be difficult hurdles to clear. But a boy can dream, right?