After rumors last week, the Cubs have signed utility infielder Daniel Descalso to a two-year contract. The contract was reported to be for $5 million with an option for a third year. According to Ken Rosenthal the contract could be worth as much as $8.25 million with incentives.
Option for 2021 in Descalso’s contract with #Cubs is worth $3.5M. Team can also buy him out for $1M. Potential overall value, with performance bonuses, is $8.25M. Descalso gets a 49.25 percent increase over the $1.675 AAV in his previous two-year deal with #DBacks.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 18, 2018
Descalso had his first above average offensive season in 2018 slashing .238/.353/.436 with a career-high 13 home runs. While he can play most infield positions and some left field, he isn't particularly good at any of them. He also pitched several times in blowout games, so look for that this season. The former Diamondback and Cardinal is likely to be filling the role of the departed Tommy La Stella. He is less of a contact hitter, but will provide more power than La Stella.
It's unclear what, if any, impact this move will have on the Cubs pending decision on Addison Russell. Some speculated the move makes it more likely he will stay, arguing Descalso would fill in at second with the troubled shortstop on suspension. Others have posited, it means they have added insurance to make jettisoning Russell easier. Time will tell which thought process is correct, but no one can say for sure now.
As far as the rest of the Cubs off-season spending plans, a $2.5 million AAV should have a very small effect on the budget. Of course, not knowing just how tight the Ricketts are holding the purse strings means it's hard to know just how big said effect will be.