This isn't the Kris Bryant grievance news the entire Cubs fanbase — and the team — is waiting for, but the organization has settled on a 2020 salary figure for the superstar.
The Cubs and Bryant have reached an agreement on a one-year, $18.6 million deal, as first reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan Friday morning:
Third baseman Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs have settled on a one-year, $18.6 million deal, a source familiar with the agreement tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2020
That's essentially what Bryant was projected at, as MLB Trade Rumors pegged him to receive $18.5 in 2020, his third year of arbitration. He made $12.9 million in 2019 and $10.85 million in 2018 (his first year of arbitration).
This deal doesn't have any impact on the Bryant service-time grievance, but that decision, expected in the next two weeks, is likely to result in Bryant remaining under team control for two more seasons.
Because he was called up as a "Super Two" player (as he made his debut so early in the 2015 season), Bryant is eligible for four years of arbitration instead of the typical three years afforded to players.
The 28-year-old had a bounceback season last year, hitting 31 homers and posting a .903 OPS with 108 runs despite battling a knee injury that affected him for much of the second half of the year.
In the big picture, it doesn't help the Cubs save any money for the 2020 payroll, so this doesn't push Theo Epstein's front office any closer to making moves in free agency. However, it does help settle one of the unknowns for other teams on the trade market as the Cubs continue to shop Bryant in an effort to fortify their team beyond 2021 while simultaneously shedding payroll in 2020.