Javier Báez and other Cubs projected to receive huge arbitration salary raises

Tim Stebbins
NBC Sports Chicago
<p>MLB Trade Rumors released their annual arbitration salary projections, predicting salary raises for several Cubs stars.</p>

Javier Báez and other Cubs projected to receive huge arbitration salary raises

MLB Trade Rumors released their annual arbitration salary projections, predicting salary raises for several Cubs stars.

Forget about Bryce Harper and Manny Machado for a second. The Cubs still have to pay the arbitration-eligible stars already on their roster.

Tuesday, MLB Trade Rumors released their projected arbitration salaries for the 2019 season. The Cubs have eight arbitration-eligible players, including Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Kyle Hendricks.

MLBTR projects Bryant to make $12.4 million in 2019, an increase from the $10.85 million that he made in 2018. For reference, his 2018 salary set the record for first-year arbitration-eligible players.

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Hendricks is projected to make $7.6 million in 2019, up from the reported $4.175 million that he made last season. Unsurprisingly, after his MVP-esque 2018 season, Báez's salary is projected to increase more than any other Cub in arbitration.

Báez is projected to make $7.1 million in 2019, his first season as an arbitration-eligible player. Báez made $657,000 in 2018, so if the $7.1 million projection is accurate, his 2019 salary will increase by about 981 percent from 2018 (woah).

Addison Russell is projected to make $4.3 million, up from his $3.2 million 2018 salary. Russell was recently suspended for 40 games, however, so his situation is somewhat up in the air.

Like Báez, Kyle Schwarber and Mike Montgomery are also first-year arbitration eligible players. Their salaries are projected to increase to $3.1 million and $3 million, respectively. For reference, both made just over $600,000 in 2018.

Carl Edwards Jr. is projected to make $1.4 million next season, while Tommy La Stella is projected to make $1.2 million. If all of these figures are accurate, the Cubs will pay these players a combined $40.1 million next season.

According to Spotrac, the Cubs had the fourth-highest payroll in 2018 at $194,259,933. While their roster is surely to see some turnover (as will every other team's), the arbitration salaries are sure to put a dent in the Cubs' payroll.

This is not to say that the Cubs will not pursue Harper, Machado or other free agents. What it does mean is that the Cubs will have some rather tough decisions to make regarding players currently on the roster entering 2019.

Change is a good thing, though, right?

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