Javier Baez agrees to 1-year, $11.65 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, avoiding arbitration; Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras are on the clock

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It has been another offseason of nonstop rumors for Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, two of the three Chicago Cubs’ arbitration-eligible stars whose names have been brought up in trade rumors for the last few offseasons.

Bryant, Contreras and Javier Baez are among the players who exchanged salary proposals with the Cubs before Friday’s deadline.

Baez was the first to sign, agreeing to a one-year, $11.65 million deal, according to sources.

Bryant and Baez are scheduled to become free agents after the 2021 season while Contreras is eligible for free agency after 2022.

According to MLBtraderumors.com, Bryant was projected to make $18.6 million in 2021, Baez between $10 million and 11.9 million and Contreras between $5 million and $7.4 million.

Cubs President Jed Hoyer said last month that the Cubs have been “incredibly aggressive with some of these guys,” but the only star player from the core of the 2016 championship team to have signed a multiyear deal since then is starter Kyle Hendricks, who is in the midst of a four-year, $55.5 million contract that includes an option year in 2024.

“We’ll continue to try,” Hoyer said. “But the only deals we’re going to do are the deals we feel make sense for the long term of the Cubs.”

The other two arbitration-eligible Cubs are outfielder Ian Happ and starter Zach Davies, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Yu Darvish deal.

Happ is projected at $2.5 million to $4.6 million and Davies between $6.3 million and $10.6 million.

Earlier this offseason, the Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Jose Martinez and Ryan Tepera. Schwarber signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Nationals, while Martinez agreed to a minor-league deal with the New York Mets.

The Cubs previously settled with relievers Dan Winkler ($900,000) and Kyle Ryan ($800,000 on a split contract).

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