Cubs, Willson Contreras avoid arbitration with $9.625-million deal

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Cubs, Contreras avoid arbitration with 11th-hour deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

NEW YORK — The Cubs and Willson Contreras avoided an arbitration hearing Thursday with an 11th-hour agreement overnight on a one-year contract, sources said Thursday morning.

The deal is for $9.625 million, the exact midpoint of the arbitration numbers filed by Contreras ($10.25 million) and the club ($9 million).

Contreras, a likely All-Star for the third time, is in his final year of arbitration eligibility and can become a free agent after this season.

RELATED: 'Nothing going to surprise' Contreras in June arb hearing

While the sides finally were able to come to terms on a deal to avoid a hearing, it's not viewed as a signal that the club intends to engage in multiyear talks.

Contreras told NBC Sports Chicago he's willing to talk during the season if the team chooses to make an offer.

He is expected to be traded by the Aug. 2 deadline.

RELATED: Cubs' Morel: 'A team could build around' Contreras

Arbitration hearings typically are held before the season starts, but this year’s process was pushed into the season because of MLB’s 99-day lockout and shortened spring training.

Nine hearings have been decided, with teams prevailing in six.

The Cubs have gone to hearings with eight players, winning five of the cases.

Ian Happ beat them last year in their most recent hearing, the first player to beat the team since Shawon Dunston in 1990.

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