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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:00 am

Bryant agrees to record $10.85 million deal

Associated Press

Kris Bryant put up another big number Friday.

Bryant agreed to a $10.85 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, a record for a player eligible for arbitration for the first time.

He was among 145 players who agreed to one-year contracts rather than swap proposed salaries in arbitration with their teams.

“I guess for some players it might be stressful, but I really enjoyed the whole process of it,” Bryant said before the start of the team's annual fan convention. “You play to get to this point in your career, and I've put in so much hard work behind the scenes to get to this point. It just feels so rewarding.”

The previous mark was held by former Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard, who was awarded $10 million by a three-person panel in 2008. The Cubs and Bryant avoided arbitration, and the 26-year-old third baseman receives a hefty raise after making $1.05 million last year.

The Cubs also reached one-year deals with right-hander Kyle Hendricks ($4,175,000), shortstop Addison Russell ($3.2 million) reliever Justin Wilson ($4.25 million) and infielder Tommy La Stella ($950,000).

Toronto and third basemen Josh Donaldson agreed at $23 million, the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player. The 32-year-old, a three-time All-Star, topped the $21,625,000, one-year deal covering 2018 agreed to last May by outfielder Bryce Harper and Washington.

Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, got a $6 million raise after rebounding from an injury-slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season with 33 homers and 78 RBI in 113 games. 

Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado agreed at $16 million, Colorado outfielder Charlie Blackmon at $14 million, Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel at $13.2 million and injured Orioles closer Zach Britton at $12 million. Those four, like Donaldson, can become free agents after the season. Britton ruptured his right Achilles tendon in offseason training and figures to have a delayed start to his season.

Just 27 players swapped figures are remain on track for hearings, which will be held from Jan. 29-Feb. 16 in Phoenix.

Mookie Betts and Boston had the biggest gap at $3 million, with the outfielder asking for $10.5 million and the Red Sox offering $7.5 million. Outfielder George Springer and World Series champion Houston had the second-biggest difference ($10.5 million vs. $8.5 million) and second baseman Jonathan Schoop and Baltimore the third ($9 million vs. $7.5 million).

Three right-handed pitchers had the smallest difference: Mike Foltynewicz and Atlanta ($2.3 million vs. $2.2 million), Dan Straily and Miami ($3.55 million vs. $3,375,000), and Shelby Miller and Arizona ($4.9 million vs. $4.7 million).

Teams won eight of 15 decisions last winter.