CHICAGO — The Cubs created more room for upcoming offseason additions on Friday, making a series of decisions before the deadline to bid contracts to unsigned players on the 40-man roster.
The other players eligible for arbitration for the Cubs — a group led by All-Star outfielder Ian Happ and shortstop Nico Hoerner — have been awarded contracts. Here’s a breakdown of the Cubs’ decisions on Friday.
Arbitration-Eligible Players Bid Contracts
Happ: He is now in his final year of referee eligibility and is an extension contender following his best overall performance in 2022. Happ was an All-Star for the first time this season and also won his first Gold Glove Award for his play in left field. .
Happ, 28, set career highs in average (.271), doubles (42), RBI (72), hits (155), runs scored (72), added hits (61 ) and in matches played (158). ) while earning $6.85 million. The switch-hitter had an overall .782 OPS with relatively even splits against lefties (.788 OPS) and righties (.779 OPS).
Horns: The shortstop is entering his officiating years for the first time, but the Cubs could also consider locking him into a multi-year extension. Last season, Hoerner hit .281 / .327 / .410 with 107 OPS+, 20 interceptions and 37 extra hits in 135 games while posting some of the best contact rates in MLB, especially on zone courts ( 93.9%).
The Cubs are in the market for a shortstop this offseason, given Hoerner’s ability and willingness to move to second base. That’s why Chicago has been heavily linked with the high class of free agent shortstops (Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson) in the Hot Stove rumors. In 2022, Hoerner played elite defense at shortstop (13 outs over the average ranked second in the Majors at position), but dragging Hoerner to second could help the Cubs adapt. to the upcoming rules change.
2b Nicholas Madrigal: Acquired from the White Sox as part of Craig Kimbrel’s trade at the 2021 trade deadline, Madrigal was limited to 59 games last season due to various health issues. Overall, he hit .249 (0.588 OPS) after beating .317 (0.764 OPS) in 20-21 combined. Madrigal, 25, maintained elite contact rates last season but his strikeout rate fell to 11.8% from 7.9% in 21. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time.
HPR Codi Heuer: The 26-year-old reliever is still working after Tommy John had surgery last spring on his right elbow. The Cubs expect Heuer’s return to persist in 2023. The right-hander posted a 3.56 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 32 walks in 91 innings (86 games) between the Cubs and Los Angeles. White Sox in 20-21 combined. He was acquired alongside Madrigal in the Kimbrel trade, and he is eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Wick: Wick, 30, had a career-high 64 innings last season, but with mixed results. The late-inning reliever posted a 4.22 ERA with 22 finished games and nine saves, racking up a career-high 69 strikeouts-29 walked. Wick has had a 2.86 ERA in his last 29 appearances, but he’s struggled with damage control against left-handed hitters (.914 OPS) throughout the season.
Sampson: An unsung hero of the Cubs’ pitching staff over the past two seasons, Sampson has posted a 3.03 ERA in 31 games (24 starts). Last season, the 31-year-old right-hander had a 3.11 ERA in 104 1/3 innings, intensifying as the rotation dealt with injuries and other issues. Down the stretch, Sampson has recorded a 1.71 ERA in his last eight appearances. He gives the Cubs depth as a multi-inning starter and reliever.
Ortega: Ortega, 31, hit 0.241/0.331/0.358 in 118 games last season, following a strong performance with the Cubs the previous campaign (0.291/0.360/0.463 in 103 games). Ortega was best used as a squad option against the right-handed throw, while providing depth for all three outfield points. He was eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Mark: Once touted as a Top 100 prospect, the 23-year-old southpaw missed two seasons due to various health issues. Last season, Marquez underwent left shoulder surgery in June that ended any hope of pitching in 2022. He made his MLB debut on September 27, 2020, but it marks his only playing action since the 2019 season.
Biscayne: The 25-year-old right-hander spent the entire 2022 season on the MLB shortlist after failing to report to Spring Training for the Cubs. The North Siders acquired Vizcaíno, along with outfielder Kevin Alcanatara (the No. 3 MLB Pipeline Cubs prospect and No. 86 on the Top 100 list), as part of the deal that sent Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees at the 21 deadline. Vizcaíno hasn’t kicked since ’21.
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