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Cubs, Kris Bryant avoid arbitration, agree to $18.6 million in 2020

Kris Bryant

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 13: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs runs during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on September 13, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

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The Chicago Cubs and Kris Bryant have avoided arbitration: the former MVP will make $18.6 million in 2020. He made $12.9 million in 2019.

Bryant, 28, is coming off of another productive season in which he hit .282/.382/.521 with 31 home runs and 77 RBI across 634 plate appearances. He’s a three-time All-Star who won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2016 NL MVP Award.

He’s also in the middle of an ongoing service time grievance, the decision for which should come out soon. If he wins, this will be his last deal with the Cubs before he hits free agency. If he loses, he and the Cubs will go through this process again next year. And, of course, the Cubs have been at least considering the idea of trading Bryant, but can’t pull the trigger on that until they know if they have one or two more years of control over him.

The Cubs had reportedly at least made some overtures to Bryant regarding a long-term deal, but those talks were said to have gone nowhere. Part of that is, no doubt, due to the uncertainty regarding the grievance, which would change the leverage in negotiations. Part of it, also, may very well be that Bryant has lingering displeasure with the Cubs’ front office over the way in which they manipulated his service time back in 2015, which led to the grievance in the first place.

For now, though, 2020 is sorted.

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