Monday, March 4 2024

Cubs’ arbitration projections released: What could it mean for Justin Steele, Patrick Wisdom? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Cubs are expected to be active again in free agency again this offseason, but the way they approach arbitration hearings could impact those pursuits in a big way.

The Cubs currently have nine players that are arbitration-eligible, including starting pitcher Justin Steele and infielder Patrick Wisdom, among others.

This week, MLB Trade Rumors released their projected salaries for all nine players, and it certainly invites interesting questions on how the Cubs will tackle the salaries of their arbitration-eligible players.

According to the site, Steele is in line for a significant salary bump from the $740,000 he earned last season. The site projects that he will make $4.1 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

That by itself isn’t a big deal considering Steele’s production, but with a club option of $16.5 million on Kyle Hendricks’ contract, and opt-in clauses for Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly, the Cubs may not have a lot of payroll flexibility in their rotation, at least with the way things stand now.

The site also projected that Wisdom’s number would come in at $2.6 million, a jump from the $763,000 he made in 2023.

The other noteworthy name on the list is Adbert Alzolay, who solidified his role as the team’s closure before an arm injury sidelined him down the stretch. His estimate comes in at $2.5 million, according to MLBTR.

In total, the Cubs’ 2024 arbitration-eligible players stand to rake in $17.6 million in salary according to estimates, and with the team already up against the luxury tax threshold even before free agency, the team will likely have to make some tough decisions on that group.

While Codi Heuer, Nick Burdi and Julian Merryweather are all eligible for arbitration, they likely won’t be in line for big raises.

The real questions surround Wisdom, who found himself largely relegated to spot-starts down the stretch. Nick Madrigal and Mike Tauchman are also eligible for arbitration, but both could be replaced in free agency or via the team’s farm system, depending on how Jed Hoyer and company approach things.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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