Contreras, Cubs avoid arbitration, agree to $9.625M contract

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CHICAGO – Catcher Willson Contreras and the Chicago Cubs avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled for later in the day, agreeing Thursday to a one-year contract for $9.625 million.

The agreement was at the midpoint between the $10.25 million Contreras had asked for and the $9 million the Cubs had offered when figures were exchanged on March 22.

Contreras, 30, hit .237 with 21 homers and 57 RBIs in 128 games last season, leading National League catchers in assists for the third time. The two-time All-Star is batting .277 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs this season. He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

No statistics or evidence from after March 1 would have been admissible in arbitration other than contract and salary comparisons. The timing was set when Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed to the deal that ended the lockout.

Contreras could be traded before the Aug. 2 deadline with the Cubs in rebuilding mode. They are fourth in the NL Central at 23-33.

Contreras, pitcher Kyle Hendricks and outfielder Jason Heyward are the only players remaining from the 2016 World Series championship team. The Cubs traded away stars Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez before last season’s deadline rather than risk losing them as free agents. Chicago went on to finish with a losing record for the first time since 2014 at 71-91.

There were no reunions in the offseason. The Cubs instead added outfielder Seiya Suzuki, pitchers Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley, and infielder Andrelton Simmons.

MLB sells share of BAMTech to Walt Disney Co. for $900M

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NEW YORK – Major League Baseball has sold its remaining share of a streaming service technology company to the Walt Disney Co. for $900 million.

The sale was disclosed Tuesday in Walt Disney Co.’s annual filing report through the SEC. MLB received the $900 million in exchange for the 15% stake it still had in a company called BAMTech, which originally started as MLB Advanced Media in 2000.

The technology helped MLB become a leader in sports streaming in the 2000s.

Walt Disney Co. has been buying chunks of BAMTech for the past five years and now owns 100% of the company. The National Hockey League sold its 10% share of BAMTech to Walt Disney Co. for a reported $350 million in 2021.