Cubs 2019 Payroll a Bit Tight
ARTICLE XX-B MLB FREE-AGENTS POST-2018 (updated 9-4-2018)
Jorge de la Rosa
Cole Hamels (club option)
Jason Heyward (player option)
Brandon Kintzler (club option or else player option if club option declined)
Jose Quintana (club option)
Pedro Strop (club option)
SIGNED BEYOND 2018: (updated 7-31-2018)
Jon Lester ($22.5M in 2019 & $15M in 2020, plus $2.5M signing bonus each post-2018-19 & $10M post-2020, & $25M vesting option for 2021 if 200 IP in 2020 or 400 IP in 2019-20 or $25M club option for 2021 or $10M buy-out) - $24.25M (AAV)
Yu Darvish ($20M in 2019, $22M each in 2020-21, $19M in 2022, and $18M in 2023, 2019-23 salaries escalate $2M per season going forward if Cy Young Award in previous season or $1M per season going forward if #2-5 finish in Cy Award in previous season, and player may opt-out of contract post-2019) - $21M (AAV)
Jason Heyward ($20M in 2019, $21M each in 2020-21, and $22M each in 2022-23, and player may opt-out of contract post-2018, or post-2019 if 550 PA in 2019, plus $20M signing bonus deferred with $5M paid each April 1st 2024-27, or entire $20M to be paid by April 1st of the next season following opt-out) - $23M (AAV)
Cole Hamels ($20M club option) - $20M (AAV)
Tyler Chatwood ($12.5M in 2019 & $13M in 2020, and 2020 salary escalates to $15M if Top 10 Cy Young Award in 2018 or 2019 or if named to All-Star team in both 2018 & 2019, and 2020 salary escalates to $17M if Top 10 Cy Young Award in both 2018 & 2019) - $12.67M (AAV)
Ben Zobrist ($12M in 2019) - $14M (AAV)
Anthony Rizzo ($11M in 2019, $14.5M each in 2020-21 with $2M club option buy-out each post-2019-20, 2019-21 salaries increase by $1M if one MVP or two Top 5 MVP 2013-19, and player may void 2021 club option with Top 2 finish in MVP 2013-19 and/or with subsequent trade) - $5.35M (AAV)
Jose Quintana ($10.5M each in 2019-20 with $1M club option buy-out each post-2018-19, and 2020 salary increases to $14M with Cy Young Award or to $13M with 2nd or 3rd place in Cy Young 2014-19) - $10.5M (AAV)
Brandon Kintzler ($10M club option or else $5M player option in 2019) - $5M (AAV)
Brandon Morrow ($9M in 2019 and $12M vesting option with $3M buy-out in 2020) - $9M (AAV)
Drew Smyly ($7M in 2019 with $6M in potential performance bonus if SP or $1M in potential performance bonus if RP) - $5M (AAV)
Steve Cishek ($7.5M in 2019 - salary escalated $250K each by virtue of pitching 30, 40, 45, and 50 G in 2018) - $7M (AAV)
Pedro Strop ($6.25M club option in 2019 or else $500K buy-out) - $6.25M (AAV)
Brian Duensing ($3.5M in 2019) - $3.5M (AAV)
2019 SUB-TOTAL: $170.25M (plus additional $9.75M in potential performance bonuses) - $146.5M (AAV)
PROJECTED ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE POST-2018: (updated 7-27-2018)
Javy Baez - $7.25M?
Kris Bryant - $12.5M?
Carl Edwards Jr (possible “Super Two”) - $1.5M?
Kyle Hendricks - $7.25M?
Tommy LaStella - $1.25M?
Mike Montgomery - $3M?
Addison Russell – POSSIBLE NON-TENDER - $4.5M?
Kyle Schwarber - $3.25M?
ESTIMATED PROJECTED 2019 SUB-TOTAL: $41M (AAV)???
AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) POST-2018 (updated 9-19-2018)
Albert Almora Jr
Taylor Davis – LIKELY POST-WORLD SERIES DFA
Oscar de la Cruz
Carl Edwards Jr (if not “Super Two”)
Mike Freeman – LIKELY POST-WORLD SERIES DFA
Terrance Gore – LIKELY NON-TENDER
Justin Hancock – LIKELY NON-TENDER
Duane Underwood Jr
Allen Webster – POSSIBLE POST-WORLD SERIES DFA or else LIKELY NON-TENDER
ESTIMATED PROJECTED 2019 SUB-TOTAL: $3.5M??? - $2.5M (MLB) plus $1M (minor league splits)
ESTIMATED PROJECTED 2019 PAYROLL: $191M??? AAV (with Hamels 2019 option declined)
2019 MLB PLAYER BENEFIT COSTS: $14M
2019 TOTAL (AAV+PBC): $205M
2019 MLB CBT THRESHOLD: $206M
COMMENT: So the Cubs will be very close to the 2019 Competitive Balance Tax ("Luxury Tax") threshold even if they sign no free-agents, and that's even if they decline the 2019 $20M option on Cole Hamels (which they almost certainly will). They would save about $4M AAV by non-tendering Addison Russell (which would get their AAV+PBC down to about $197M), but otherwise there won't be much wiggle-room unless the Cubs are able to unload contracts in a trade.
It's possible that the Cubs will attempt to trade one or two arbitration-eligibles like Kyle Schwarber and/or Mike Montgomery for prospects, but even doing that won't save more than about another $5M AAV combined, and they probably couldn't get "A"-level prospects back for either player.
Otherwise, unless they can find takers for Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Kintzler, Brian Duensing, and/or Drew Smyly (whose combined contracts are worth about $25M AAV), or eat a large chunk of his salary ($23M AAV) and trade Heyward (who now can be traded - see comment below), the Cubs are pretty-much stuck payroll-wise going into the post- 2018 off-season.
And so unless they are OK with exceeding the CBT threshold (and suffer the penalties that go along with that), there is almost no way they can sign a free-agent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado to a high-AAV contract this coming off-season, and in fact they probably couldn't even re-sign somebody like RHRP Jesse Chavez without exceeding the CBT threshold unless they non-tender Russell or trade Schwarber and Montgomery.
However, if they do exceed the CBT (Luxury Tax) threshold in 2019, the penalties are:
With the Cubs having exceeded the 2019 CBT ("luxury tax") threshold of $206M by about $15M by virtue of picking up the Cole Hamels option on Friday, here are the potential penalties the Cubs would face in 2019 and into 2020 if their payroll remains above the CBT threshold in 2019:
Because they did not exceed the CBT threshold in 2018, the Cubs will pay a 20% tax on any amount over the $206M CBT threshold they spend in 2019 (it would have been a 30% tax if they had exceeded the CBT threshold in both 2018 and 2019 and it would have been a 50% tax if they had exceded the CBT threshold in 2017, 2018, and 2019). If they exceed the 2019 CBT threshold by more than 20% (in other words $226M+) they would pay an additional surcharge of 12% on the amount spent in excess of $20M over the threshold. And if they exceed the 2019 CBT threshold by more than $40M ($246M+) they would pay an additional surcharge of 42% on the amount spent in excess of $40M over the threshold (the additional surcharge would have been 45% over $246M+ if they had paid a CBT tax in both 2018 and 2019).
Also, if the Cubs pay any CBT in 2019, they will have their compensation for losing a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who is extended a Qualifying Offer reduced from a draft pick after the 2nd round in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft to a draft pick after the 4th round. Also, if the Cubs sign an Article XX-B Qualified Player after the 2019 season they will have to surrender their second and fifth highest draft picks in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft and would have $1M subtracted from their 2020-21 International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) instead of losing only their second-highest draft pick and having their 2020-21 ISBP reduced by $500K (the latter being the case if they do not exceed the CBT threshold in 2019).
Also, if the Cubs were to exceed the 2019 CBT by more than $40M ($246M+), they would have their first pick in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft moved-down ten slots (the Cubs second overall pick would be moved-down ten slots if their 1st pick is one of the first six overall picks in the draft).
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).
JustSayin' 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.
That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.
Hagsag 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.
Arizona Phil 2 days 11 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020.
JustSayin' 3 days 20 hours ago (view)
The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever. That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.
crunch 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
"According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."
so that's where that promise landed. the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.
crunch 6 days 14 hours ago (view)
"Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.
crunch 6 days 20 hours ago (view)
i miss baseball. it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.
there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list. there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead. former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup. his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...
JustSayin' 6 days 22 hours ago (view)
COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever. It WAS still America's grass roots sport. Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive. I believe that era is over. What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems. With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go. I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca
crunch 1 week 20 hours ago (view)
fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv
for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...
bradsbeard 1 week 1 day ago (view)
I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement.
Hagsag 1 week 1 day ago (view)
AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.
Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)
jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.
jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)
AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.
crunch 1 week 3 days ago (view)
"Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.
Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."