Previously, we talked about the remaining arbitration-eligible Cubs and the impending deadline:
That deadline has since passed, and you can see every arbitration case has been settled before they have to bring in the agents and front office bad-mouthers:
- Ian Happ (5.036): $10.85MM agreement
- Rowan Wick (3.114): $1.55MM agreement in November
- Nico Hoerner (3.014): $2.525MM agreement
- Codi Heuer (3.000): $785K agreement
- Nick Madrigal (2.164): $1.225MM agreement
- Adrian Sampson (2.117): $1.9MM agreement in November
Checking the Cots Contracts tracker, it would appear the Cubs are about $22MM below the first luxury tax threshold, and as has been implied at the Convention, Tom Ricketts seems willing to spend more but not necessarily exceed that threshold at this time. As usual, the MLBTR projections were pretty spot-on, and while Ian Happ’s report came kind of late in the evening of the deadline, the fact that he got above his projection probably bodes well for any potential extension talks, which I would not object to given how sparse next year’s free agency appears to be.
The folks at Bleacher Nation are covering the Cubs Convention and have also suggested that the Cubs may still be pursuing Trey Mancini, which I surmise won’t take a huge contract and would safely keep them under the luxury tax. I still don’t think they necessarily need to add more to the bullpen with the in-house pitching, but former reliever Andrew Chafin is available and I guess they could use a lefthander to help out Brandon Hughes. I low key wanted them to make an offer to Andrew McCutchen, who just seems like a fun guy and can still provide solid production if not anywhere near his former MVP level, but he’s back with the Pirates, and the Cubs have too many outfielder/DH types anyway, so I get it. Then again, since the Pirates are happy perpetually sucking, he might get traded midseason and become a Cub after all (dying laughing)
The Cubs.com beat reporter, Jordan Bastian, wrote up the opening ceremony at the convention, which I’m bummed to have missed even if this team isn’t the ideal super-juggernaut we had hoped for at the start of this offseason. Nevertheless, I am only about 75% joking when I say that the Cubs will play 162 1-0 games and hopefully win 90 of them, as games where you don’t get blown out are games where you have a shot at flipping the script. With the pitching and defense in place, I think the Cubs can do that, but it sucks that they’re punting the “destroy everything in our path” lineup construction to the next seasons. The rah-rah mantra remains that they’re trying to win this season, and I guess we will see if they can hold the .500 line and add at the deadline.