The Chicago Cubs had no game scheduled Thursday, but they probably had an activity on the docket: Willson Contreras’ arbitration hearing. MLB is trying to clear this winter’s backlog of lockout-delayed arbitration cases on teams’ off days, and though the league is not announcing when arbitrators are hearing cases, the Cubs and Contreras suddenly reached a settlement Thursday.
“As is often the case, the closer you get to the actual hearing, the more serious negotiations get,” Twins General Manager Thad Levine said of Contreras’ new $9.65 million contract, the midpoint of the Cubs’ $9 million offer and Contreras’ $10.25 million request.
Why is Contreras’ case of interest to the Twins? Because they have a veteran catcher in his final year of arbitration eligibility, too, one who was also awaiting an arbitration hearing. And just an hour or two after Contreras’ settlement was announced, the Twins and Gary Sanchez decided to meet in the middle, too.
In Sanchez’s case, that means a $9 million salary for 2022, halfway between the Twins’ offer of $8.5 million and Sanchez’s $9.5 million proposal. Like Contreras, Sanchez can become a free agent in November.