Back at it after a nice Thanksgiving and subsequent weekend. The Winter Meetings are one week away, and the non-tender deadline is Friday.

  • As we talk about free agency, and the value of contract offers, it’s always worth keeping the differing taxes among states in mind. Although the sales taxes in Illinois are hefty, the 3% income tax is relatively low. The Cubs are frequently competing for free agents with larget market teams in California or New York (well, they will be competing with them eventually), and the state income taxes there, at the highest levels, are 10.3% and 8.82%, respectively. According to an analysis by a tax lawyer on agent Scott Boras’s staff – yeah, they’re always evaluating these things – a player with a $10 million salary could see a different in aftertax income of as much as $400,000 in a no-tax state like Florida, versus a high-tax state like California.* Illinois is obviously closer to the no-tax end of the spectrum, and that $400,000 could be a huge difference: with upwards of $4 million in taxes coming out of that $10 million contract, that $400,000 is 6.67% of that player’s aftertax income. So, if I’m spitballin’ here, in Illinois that difference is obviously smaller – maybe $250,000 to $300,000 – but it’s still a big advantage that the Cubs have over, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers. The Cubs’ offer for the “same” money as those teams will always be about 5% better.
  • Matt Garza turns 29 today, and, since we’re friends now, I can wish Matt a happy birthday.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at a variety of things, including an analysis on the utility of K/BB as a stat, instead of K% and BB%. The conclusions are relatively convincing that the latter are better than the former, but not to the point where it’s worth throwing out K/BB in total. But if you start seeing me use K% and BB% for pitchers a bit more around here, this is probably why.
  • The MLB.com shop is doing the Cyber Monday thing, so there might be a Cubs deal or two in there.
  • Over on the Message Board, BN’er Mike discusses the reasons the Cubs should be entertaining offers for Darwin Barney right now.
  • BN’er Brit Wagner is doing something pretty incredible: donating a kidney to a total stranger because it’s an awesome thing to do. You’ll be able to follow the journey here, which maybe will inspire you to do something for someone else (it doesn’t even have to be, like, giving a physical part of your body – it can be as simple as being nice to a checkout clerk who looks like she’s had a terrible day), and help with the costs associated with the donation process, if it comes to that.


  • * – State tax calculations are actually super complicated for folks who earn their income in a variety of states, as baseball players do (that is to say, you pay state income taxes where that income is earned – since baseball players play half their games at home and half in a variety of other states, there’s a lot of apportioning that goes on). But, I reckon that Boras’s tax man took that into account in his calculations, so I’ve left that issue untouched in my back-of-the-napkin’ing.

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