A very interesting article was just put out by David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago:
Exclusive: Cubs' offers to extend Kris Bryant are below the top of the market, but no ownership luxury tax mandate exists. https://t.co/WyF9uqZHvr
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) January 30, 2020
Kaplan’s sources told him a couple of things. First that the Cubs and Bryant’s camp has had extension talks, but that they are very far apart:
“Sources close to Bryant confirmed he is willing to listen to a long-term extension but the Cubs’ offers were not anywhere close to what other top third baseman in baseball have recently signed for.”
The other third baseman are Anthony Rendon and Nolan Arenado, both who have signed long term deals that exceeded $240M and seven years.
It should be no surprise that is the kind of deal Bryant is after. He has been a top third baseman in baseball ever since he came up in 2015. He is a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and of course, World Series Champion. You would imagine that he has a lot of superior baseball left in him.
The other part of the article, and what is the most important part, is about the luxury tax threshold:
“Sources confirmed no such mandate from ownership exists. While the Cubs would like to reset under the luxury tax threshold for strategic reasons, ownership is well aware of the financial challenges they are currently dealing with in player payroll. Ownership is also prepared to navigate another year in the luxury tax if the club remains in the playoff picture in 2020.”
Okay, this is huge. We have been told by the Cubs brass that they did not have the money to make big free agent signings. That in order to add this off-season they would have to subtract some big contracts. So was that all a lie? Does that mean the Cubs just did not want to spend on big contract players that would improve the team and take them to championship level? Well, I mean it could be, but most likely not the case.
Kaplan also stated that, “Luxury tax is not computed on Opening Day, but rather at the end of the season.”
Basically, that means that the Cubs very well could go into the season with the team they have now, and that because baseball is cruel sport, they would have the financial flexibility before the trade deadline to fix the issues they have on the roster to make a playoff push.
That is very well what could happen on the North Side this coming season. It is frustrating to know that they probably could have made a run at Gerrit Cole and Nick Castellanos and really improved this team this off-season, but on the other hand you have to ask yourself, what would have happened if those players had under performed? What if they still had to make moves at the deadline, because someone got injured, and they did not have the flexibility to make that move? What if they realized that instead of Castellanos they wanted to focus on resigning players like Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, and Schwarber. Then after those guys are signed they use the flexibility they have and fill in the missing pieces just like they did in 2016.
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