Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. entered his first arbitration eligible year at the worst possible time. After posting a career low .236 batting average and putrid .651 OPS, leading to a -0.7 fWAR in 2019, Almora avoided arbitration with the Cubs Friday, but he’s getting slightly less than what was projected.

The 25-year-old outfielder is still getting pay raise from his 2019 salary, but MLBTR, which is great at projecting arbitration salaries, estimated that Almora would receive $1.8 million in 2020. He and the Cubs settled on $1.575 million.

Not a big difference by any means, but the Cubs are trying to save every penny they can this offseason to get below the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

Here’s to Almora having a great season…at Triple-A or as the Cubs fifth outfielder.

Earlier on Friday the Cubs also avoided arbitration with Kris Bryant, agreeing to an $18.6 million salary for 2020.

Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Kyle Ryan are the other Cubs arbitration eligible players.

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