One contract unknown has been resolved for catcher Willson Contreras.
Contreras and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year, $9.625 million contract Thursday, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for later in the day.
The agreement was at the midpoint of the $10.25 million Contreras asked for and the $9 million the Cubs offered when figures were exchanged March 22. Arbitration hearings typically are held during spring training, but the 99-day owners lockout pushed it back. The Cubs have taken a file-and-trial approach to arbitration in past years, but this clearly was a different circumstance.
Contreras, 30, will be a free agent for the first time after the season. His play is setting him up for a big payday, whether it’s from the Cubs — his organization since signing as a teenager in 2009 — or elsewhere.
Contreras, a two-time All-Star, is hitting .277 with 10 homers, 23 RBIs, .403 on-base percentage and 161 OPS+.
No statistics after March 1 would have been admissible in arbitration other than contract and salary comparisons. The timing was set when Major League Baseball and the players association agreed to the deal that ended the lockout.
Without a contract extension, Contreras likely will be traded before the Aug. 2 deadline with the Cubs (23-33) in a rebuilding mode.
Contreras, pitcher Kyle Hendricks and outfielder Jason Heyward are the only players remaining from the 2016 World Series championship team. The Cubs traded stars Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez before last season’s deadline to add young talent to their minor-league system.
Associated Press contributed.