Cubs avoid arbitration with key pieces
Kris Bryant and Javier Baez were among seven arbitration-eligible players who agreed to 1-year deals with the Cubs on Friday.
Bryant received $12.9 million, a $2 million raise from his 2018 salary – which was the largest for a player in his first year of eligibility. Baez settled for $5.2 million in his first year of eligibility, a $4.6 million raise from 2018, when he finished second in National League MVP voting.
Suspended shortstop Addison Russell received a slight raise, signing a $3.4 million, 1-year deal to avoid arbitration. That’s only $200,000 more than he made in 2018, when Russell had a poor offensive year and was placed on administrative leave and then suspended in September for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic-violence policy.
The Cubs also agreed to terms with Kyle Schwarber, who will earn $3.39 million in his first year of being an arbitration-eligible player. He made $605,000 in 2018.
Earlier, Kyle Hendricks agreed to a $7.405 million deal, a $3.4 million raise from 2018. Mike Montgomery and Carl Edwards Jr. also agreed to terms.
Sox agree to deals with 4 players
The White Sox avoided arbitration with all four of its eligible players, agreeing to deals with first baseman Jose Abreu, pitchers Alex Colome and Carlos Rodon, and infielder Yolmer Sanchez before Friday’s deadline.
Abreu agreed to a $16 million salary for 2019, a raise of $3 million.
Right-hander Colome will get $7.3 million, and left-hander Rodon and Sanchez also agreed to terms. Rodon made $2.3 million last season, Sanchez $2.35 million. Colome made $5.3 million with the Rays and Mariners last season.
Betts, de Grom avoid arbitration
AL MVP Mookie Betts and the World Series champion Boston Red Sox agreed to a $20 million, one-year contract, a raise of $9.5 million that was for a few hours the highest for an arbitration-eligible player.
Betts was surpassed later Friday by New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, as the NL Cy Young Award winner got a raise from $7.4 million to $17 million.
After beating the Red Sox in arbitration last offseason, the 26-year-old Betts led the major leagues in batting average (.346) and slugging percentage (.640) and was second in on-base average (.438). He also had 84 extra-base hits, including 32 home runs, and stole 30 bases. He also won his third straight Gold Glove.
DeGrom led the majors with a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings and was selected to his second All-Star Game. He was fifth in MVP voting after receiving little run support on a fourth-place squad. The 30-year-old right-hander went 10-9 with 269 strikeouts.
The Red Sox also reached deals with shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., among eight other players. The Mets agreed to contracts with five other arbitration-eligible players, including pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
LeMahieu, Lowrie will play in New York
Gold Glove-winning free-agent second baseman D.J. LeMahieu and the Yankees have agreed to a $24 million, two-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, a deal that would appear to eliminate New York as a destination for Manny Machado.
Meanwhile, free agent infielder Jed Lowie and the New York Mets have agreed to a $20 million, two-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The 30-year-old LeMahieu spent the previous eight seasons with Colorado at hitter-friendly Coors Field and won the NL batting title in 2016 with a .348 average. He hit .276 last year with 15 homers and 62 RBIs, and he won his second straight Gold Glove and third overall.
A veteran of 11 major league seasons, the switch-hitting Lowrie set career highs with 23 homers and 99 RBIs last year and hit .267 for Oakland. He also has played for Boston and Houston, and he has a .262 career big league average with 104 homers and 509 RBIs.
Martin traded back to Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers reacquired catcher Russell Martin in a trade with Toronto on Friday, and also reached 1-year deals with their seven remaining arbitration-eligible players.
The NL champions agreed with Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields and Yimi Garcia on 2019 contracts.
With catcher Yasmani Grandal leaving for a deal with Milwaukee earlier in the week, the Dodgers had room to bring back Martin.
In exchange, the Dodgers sent minor leaguers Andrew Sopko, a right-hander, and Ronny Brito, an infielder, to the Blue Jays. Toronto is sending $16.4 million to offset some of the $20 million Martin is owed in the final season of his contract.
A four-time All-Star, Martin was with the Dodgers from 2006-10 and helped lead Los Angeles to three playoff appearances. The 35-year-old Canadian signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent after the 2010 season and spent two seasons in the Bronx before playing two seasons with Pittsburgh and four with Toronto.
He started 71 games at catcher and 21 at third base last year, hitting .194 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs.