Cubs avoid arbitration with 3 players

Arrieta, Rondon, Grimm agree to 1-year deals

Cubs avoid arbitration with 3 players

CHICAGO -- While the Cubs celebrated their World Series championship Friday at their annual winter fan fest, the team reached contract agreements with three of their four arbitration eligible players, including Jake Arrieta, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.

Pedro Strop, 31, however, did not reach a settlement and the two sides exchanged figures. Strop's agent asked for $6 million, while the team countered at $4.6 million.

Strop tore the left meniscus in his knee in early August and returned Sept. 23. He compiled a 2.85 ERA over 47 1/3 innings in 54 games. The right-hander will be a free agent after the 2017 season.

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Arrieta, 30, avoided arbitration and signed a one-year deal for $15.6375 million. The 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner, Arrieta is coming off another solid season in which he went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA, including his second career no-hitter in April, against the Reds.

"I wanted to get it out of the way," Arrieta said Friday at the Cubs Convention. "It's a good deal. I didn't want anything to linger. Get it out of the way and move on, and enjoy this for a couple days and get on to Arizona and start playing again."

Arrieta's increase is the second highest ever for third-year eligible starting pitcher, behind Max Scherzer, who received an $8.8 million raise after his Cy Young Award-winning season three years ago. Arrieta, who made $10.7 million in 2016, will be a free agent after this season, but did not pursue a long-term deal at this time.

"For me, there's no hard feelings toward anybody," Arrieta said. "It's a business. The team has to do what's in its best interests and that's completely understandable from my perspective. I get it. I respect Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] and the rest of the front office. You'd be a fool not to, based on what they've done and where this organization is. To be a part of what we've been able to accomplish over the last couple years is remarkable. It'd be great to stay here, but we'll take it one day at a time and go from there."

Cubs president of baseball operations Epstein said he was happy to have Arrieta's contract resolved now.

"When it's a big spread [between figures], sometimes people think it's adversarial, where it's just really more procedural," Epstein said. "I'm glad we're able to come to terms, and focus on getting ready for the season."

Could the Cubs negotiate a contract extension for Arrieta?

"We won't make it a public matter, but I'm sure happy he's a Cub," Epstein said. "There's certainly a chance he could be here beyond next year. We don't have any ongoing talks or anything specific scheduled but I'm sure it will come up at some point."

Rondon settled at $5.8 million, while Grimm avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.825 million deal.

Rondon strikes out Martinez

Rondon went 14-for-18 in save situations in the first half, posting a 1.72 ERA, but lost his job as the closer once the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman in July. Rondon, 28, was sidelined with a strained right triceps from mid-August to early September, and finished with a career-low 51 innings. He was paid $4.2 million last year.

Grimm induces big DP

Grimm, 28, had a 5.34 ERA before the All-Star break, then regrouped and finished with a 2.42 ERA in 28 games in the second half. He was paid $1.275 million in 2016.

Strop strikes out Perez

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.