Cubs, Kris Bryant avoid arbitration, agree to $18.6 million in 2020

Kris Bryant
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The Chicago Cubs and Kris Bryant have avoided arbitration: the former MVP will make $18.6 million in 2020. He made $12.9 million in 2019.

Bryant, 28, is coming off of another productive season in which he hit .282/.382/.521 with 31 home runs and 77 RBI across 634 plate appearances. He’s a three-time All-Star who won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2016 NL MVP Award.

He’s also in the middle of an ongoing service time grievance, the decision for which should come out soon. If he wins, this will be his last deal with the Cubs before he hits free agency. If he loses, he and the Cubs will go through this process again next year. And, of course, the Cubs have been at least considering the idea of trading Bryant, but can’t pull the trigger on that until they know if they have one or two more years of control over him.

The Cubs had reportedly at least made some overtures to Bryant regarding a long-term deal, but those talks were said to have gone nowhere. Part of that is, no doubt, due to the uncertainty regarding the grievance, which would change the leverage in negotiations. Part of it, also, may very well be that Bryant has lingering displeasure with the Cubs’ front office over the way in which they manipulated his service time back in 2015, which led to the grievance in the first place.

For now, though, 2020 is sorted.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.