Ian Happ on heading to arbitration with Cubs: 'It's part of the job'

Happ plans to attend his own arbitration hearing.
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(670 The Score) Cubs outfielder Ian Happ plans to attend his own arbitration hearing, even though he realizes its very nature can lead to awkward moments.

“You really don’t want to hear the team trash you,” Happ said on the Bernstein & Rahimi Show on 670 The Score on Thursday morning. “So that’s a tough line to walk.”

Happ and the Cubs are on a path for arbitration after failing to reach an agreement on a 2021 salary before the deadline to exchange numbers last Friday. Happ filed for $4.1 million, while the Cubs filed for $3.25 million. In a virtual hearing via Zoom sometime in the first few weeks of February, a panel of arbiters will decide which side wins the case.

There’s no middle ground in arbitration, where the player’s representation argues for the higher figure and the team’s representation points out the said player’s flaws in arguing for the lower number.

“In limbo right now,” Happ said. “We’ll have a contract at some point. Going through the process – it’s part of the job.”

Happ is coming off a strong season, hitting .258 with 12 homers, 28 RBIs and an .866 OPS in 57 games. This is the first time he has been arbitration-eligible.

While players and teams can still agree on deals after exchanging numbers and before sitting down for an arbitration hearing, that usually doesn’t happen.