Updated 2:19 PM: An earlier editing error from a different version of this article has been corrected. Sorry about the confusion.
Well, now for some good news. Kind of.
A source tells me that the Cubs plan to increase their payroll by as much as $35M to what they are currently going to be paying out for next season.
Of course some of that will go to internal raises, much of that through arbitration and perhaps an extension for Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, and/or Welington Castillo.
So, let’s try and break this down.
Here are the Cubs arbitration eligible players with expected salaries via MLBTradeRumors. (Raises rounded off)
- Jeff Samardzija (4.028): $4.9MM (2.3M raise)
- Nate Schierholtz (5.078): $3.8MM (1.5M)
- Travis Wood (3.004): $3.6MM ($3M)
- Darwin Barney (3.053): $2.1MM (1.5M)
- Daniel Bard (3.079): $1.8625MM (no raise)
- James Russell (4.000): $1.7MM (700K raise)
- Luis Valbuena (3.148): $1.5MM (600K)
- Pedro Strop (2.156, Super Two): $1MM (500 K)
- Donnie Murphy (4.043): $1MM (400K)
- Darnell McDonald (3.130): $700K (will be non tendered)
Some money already went to sign Ryan Sweeney in his new contract. He didn’t really get a raise. He actually made more money in 2012 — but he also wasn’t on the roster at the beginning of the year, so most of that goes to next year’s increase.
Wood stands to make the biggest raise at around $3M. Samardzija’s raise is the biggest at about $2.3M and Schierholtz and Barney would get a raise of about $1.5M. We can expect the Cubs to non-tender Darnel McDonald.
Overall, that’s about $10-11M in arb raises and some nominal raises for players who will get their contracts automatically renewed (i.e Welington Castillo, Junior Lake, Logan Watkins, etc). The Cubs may be able to save money by non-tendering Darwin Barney as well and going with the minimum salaried Logan Watkins or a Luis Valbuena/Donnie Murphy platoon at 2B with Mike Olt at 3B. It probably wouldn’t affect production (and might even improve it), and it would save the Cubs some money.
It may also be a good idea to sign Travis Wood to an extension in order to save some money this year and backload his raises for later in his contract when the Cubs expect to contend.
So in all, we could see about $10-20M going to new players. A good chunk of that may go to Masahiro Tanaka if the Cubs can win the bidding, but not as much as you think. If he signs a contract similar to Yu Darvish, it could leave the Cubs without about $15M left to spend in 2014. (Darvish made $5.5M in 2012, his first year).
That’s a rough estimate and it could change depending on if Cubs sign Wood to a friendly extension that delays his big raise and non-tendering Barney, that could add about $2-3M or so. Then, of course, as we were the first to mention a few days back, they could save additional money with a trade of Castro for prospects and re-allocate that money to other positions.
That’s still a lot of money to spread around to free agents and trades for veterans.
How would you spend it?
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