In 2015 the Cubs payroll was a little over $133 million. We're not entirely sure what the 2016 payroll will be, but Theo did say we should expect it to increase some. That could mean anything, but we'll have plenty of time to break that down. I figured since I wasn't entirely sure where the Cubs were in terms of resources that I'd get a clue so I knew what I was talking about moving forward. I also figured it's something I've tracked nearly every year since 2005 so I'd publish it here. Maybe I'm the only one who finds it useful, but I can more quickly find things here on OV than I can elsewhere. Hopefully some of you will find it useful too.
Myles has already put together some potential offseason plans.
|Clayton Richard #||1.100||Free Agent (FA)|
|Chris Coghlan #||3.900||FA|
|Jonathan Herrera #||1.100||FA|
|Travis Wood #||6.400||FA|
|Pedro Strop #||4.700||Arb4||FA|
|Jake Arrieta #||10.600||Arb3||FA|
|Jacob Turner #||1.000||Arb2||Arb3||FA|
|Hector Rondon #||3.600||Arb2||Arb3||FA|
|Justin Grimm #||1.000||Arb2||Arb3||FA|
- The Cubs hold a $12 million club option on Jason Hammel for 2017 or a $2 million buyout.
- The Cubs hold a $16 million club option on Starlin Castro in 2020 or a $1 million buyout.
- The Cubs hold a $14.5 million clut option on Anthony Rizzo in 2020 and 2021 with a $2 million buyout.
- Trevor Cahill has a $0.3 million buyout (or an absurd $13 million club option, which isn't happening).
- # arbitration eligible players with projected salaries by Matt Swartz.
- Jon Lester is paid $22.5 million in each of 2018 and 2019, but also gets $2.5 million each year as part of his signing bonus. 2021 he's paid $15 million, but he also gets $10 million in signing bonus.
The total of those players is $110.71 million. Add in the auto-renewal players making roughly league minimum, as well as the 40-man roster guys not on the active roster (probably $7-12 million total) and you're already at $120 million.
Re-signing Dexter Fowler definitely becomes more difficult if the Cubs are looking to add a top-tier talent (pitcher or position player) through free agency. That is, unless the payroll is significantly higher than it was in 2015.
So let's say the Cubs increase the payroll to $140 million, which would only be a small increase considering they went to the playoffs. They'd have roughly $15 million to spend. A trade or two could clear up some more space. A $150 million payroll would give the Cubs a lot more flexibility and the option to add both an elite starting pitcher and Dexter Fowler if they wanted.