The Chicago Cubs have agreed to arbitration terms with star slugger Kris Bryant. It was never really in doubt that the Cubs would pay the former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP, but the $10.85 million agreement between the two sides is the largest ever for a first-year arbitration eligible player.
Gordon Wittenmyer with the Chicago Sun-Times shared the agreement and money figures on Twitter:
Bryant gets first-year arb record $10.85 million. #Cubs
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) January 12, 2018
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs Reach Arbitration Agreement
Bryant burst onto the MLB scene as a rookie in 2015. He went on to appear in 151 games and win the NL Rookie of the Year Award after slashing .275/.369/.488 with 26 home runs, 99 RBI, and 31 doubles. Bryant swept every first place vote for the award while helping the Cubs win 97 games and advance all the way to the NLCS.
Bryant followed that up with his most successful season to date in 2016. He slashed .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs, 102 RBI, 35 doubles, and 121 runs scored. Bryant would capture the NL MVP in a landslide while securing 29 of 30 first-place votes. He more than did his part in leading the Cubs to 103 wins while capturing an NL Central Division title and a World Series ring.
While Bryant took a small step back in a few areas in 2017, he actually improved his on-base percentage by cutting down on his strikeouts and walking more than ever before. He walked 95 times in 2017 after never eclipsing 80 in a season and struck out just 128 times compared to 353 combined over his first two seasons. The result was a .409 OBP with a .537 slugging percentage, 38 doubles, 111 runs, 29 home runs, and 73 RBI. Chicago would capture the NL Central once again but fell just short of the World Series after losing the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In just three seasons, Bryant has posted 19.7 WAR while appearing in the postseason every year. In 36 playoff games, Bryant has six home runs, 16 RBI, and 17 runs scored.
Friday’s arbitration agreement is likely just the tip of the iceberg for Bryant. The Cubs will probably look to sign Bryant to a long-term contract moving forward as he is a key, young piece to the lineup. Nevertheless, Bryant has certainly done enough to earn his record-breaking arbitration number.
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