Cubs

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Cubs

The Cubs avoided an arbitration hearing with Pedro Strop, settling on a one-year, $5.5 million contract with one of the National League's best setup guys.

Strop has been a key part of the bullpen and clubhouse culture since coming over from the Baltimore Orioles in the franchise-changing Jake Arrieta trade in the middle of the 2013 season.

Though a late-season injury limited his contributions during the playoffs, Strop has made 232 appearances for the Cubs, putting up a 2.68 ERA. In what will be his final season before hitting free agency, the Cubs expect Strop to regain his form and work in front of elite closer Wade Davis.

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Saturday's announcement came less than 72 hours before pitchers and catchers officially report to Arizona and Cubs management meets the press at the Sloan Park complex as defending World Series champs.

Strop had filed at $6 million while the Cubs countered at $4.6 million. This continues a streak for Theo Epstein, who is entering his 15th season running baseball operations for the Cubs or Boston Red Sox and has so far never taken a player to an arbitration hearing.