In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve become very reluctant to bash traditional media members for making a mistake or saying something stupid. When you produce the volume of words that they do on a weekly basis, it’s bound to happen occasionally (I make mistakes and say stupid things all the time). I think being a journalist is both difficult and important, and I’m not about to start slapping anyone around from a high horse that I’ve never earned. So, the rule I’ve self-imposed is this: I’ll point out and correct/address/discuss mistakes only to the extent that doing so serves the purpose of helping us properly understand something about baseball/business/media/whatever. I’m not going to rip just to rip.

With that ethos in mind, Phil Rogers recently reported the signing of Korean reliever Chang-Yong Lim as follows:

The Chicago Cubs’ agreement to sign Korean reliever Chang-Yong Lim has been finalized. It is a two-year, split contract, with a much lesser commitment than was originally reported.

Reports from Korea said it was worth $5 million but a Cubs source said Lim signed for $100,000 and will receive minor-league salaries for up to two seasons.

The whole purpose of this portion of his piece is to say, effectively, “pfft, those early reports of $5 million for Lim were totally off base, as the real number was far lower, and I just figured that out for you, reader.”

But Rogers also notes that Lim’s contract, as originally reported, is a split Major League/Minor League deal. Rogers does not explain what that means, but, as we’ve discussed here before, the gist is this: the player is technically on a Minor League deal, and earns Minor League pay (plus, as in Lim’s case, a signing bonus). When he’s called up to the big club, he earns the Major League portion of his contract, which is a rate higher than the Major League minimum salary (which is the very purpose of a split contract – it allows you to sign a guy to a Minor League deal with the incentive that he’ll make more money than your average Minor Leaguer if he makes the big leagues).

Given that definition, it seems more than likely that the total possible value of the Major League portion of Lim’s deal is $5 million, as originally reported. It could very well be true that the $5 million report is completely erroneous because the Major League portion of his split is for $2 million. Or $1 million. Or whatever. But, if that’s what your reporting uncovered, then say that. Don’t say the original reports are bunk because Lim’s actually just getting a $100,000 signing bonus and minor league pay. It suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the very split contract that you just said he signed.

So, what do we know for certain about Lim’s deal at this point?

Lim is getting a $100,000 signing bonus, and then Minor League payments after that. Minor League pay is a range, depending on your service time and what level you’re playing at, but it’s generally around $1500 to $3000 per month for the months in which you play. Yeah, Minor Leaguers are *not* well-paid.

When he does make the big league club, he’ll be making more than the Major League minimum, but we’re not yet sure what his contract rate is. I suspect it’s something in the range of $5 million, depending on how quickly he makes the big league club. If I had to guess, $5 million is the absolute maximum he can make, and that’s why he used that figure when he spoke to Korean reporters. Odds are he makes far less than that, if he makes the big club at all.

Indeed, the “reports from Korea” that Rogers dismisses? Well, they address this very issue, and their source is Lim, himself. They do not say that the deal is “worth $5 million.” They say the deal is worth up to $5 million:

Lim, 36, left for the U.S. Thursday to sign the two-year contract. He said the deal is a split contract worth up to US$5 million, with different salary rates for the time he spends in the majors compared to while he is in the minors.

There you go.

  • Tim

    This may seem like a dumb question, but how often do players get paid? Monthly, weekly, etc? And do they get this pay in the same intervals during spring training? What about if they make the playoffs? Does that not count towards their salary per year or is it all bonus dollars?

    • JB88

      My guess is that it is dictated by the state in which the minor league team is located. Most states have statutes that dictate how frequently an employee must be paid. Many states require semimonthly paychecks (i.e., twice per month).

      • cub2014


      • Frank

        I don’t know–don’t all NFL players get paid per game?

  • MightyBear

    I do like his nickname, “Mr. Zero”

  • hcs

    It’ll be Lim-sanity. Okay, I’m going to go hide in shame now.

  • ETS

    $5m yen?

    • ETS

      doh probably don’t need a $ if I’m talking about yen… where’s that edit button?

      • TWC

        You probably don’t need the yen if you’re talking about Korean currency, either. It’s “won”.

  • JP

    Brett, Would you explain Stewart’s non-guaranteed contract. Also why would he accept such a deal? Check the depth chart on the Cub’s site. Thank you.

    • Brett

      If he makes the team on Opening Day, he gets his $2 million. If he is released in Spring Training, he gets about a month’s worth of pay. Pretty much the same way contracts earned in arbitration operate.

  • Rcleven

    Where does he rehab? US (Az) or Japan?

    • CubFan Paul


  • JB88

    BTW, very well played snipe at Rogers :)

  • Myles – OV

    Phil Rogers isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he IS a tool.

    As for nicknames, I’m partial to denoting a section of the bleachers the “Chang-gang.”

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Would he still be subject to the Arbitration process?

    • Brett

      It could be in his contract that he isn’t, but normally, he would be – though he won’t be eligible for arbitration until he’s accumulated three years of Major League service time. He’ll be pretty old at that point.

      • Spencer

        Reserve clause ftw!

        • Brett


        • hansman1982

          Every time I see ftw I first think “f$%k that wizzle”, then I realize for that to be correct it’d have to be fdw (da instead of that). Then I think “Funyuns That Win” and that makes me think of Tony Campana and then I have a sad.

          These are the things that rattle in my brain.

  • itzscott

    I still don’t understand why “we”, as fans should be concerned with how much a player is paid. It’s not like it’s coming out of our pockets….. and actually payroll budgets are a very small fraction of ticket prices when factoring in TV/radio revenues, merchandising revenues, concession revenues, advertising revenue, etc.

    I really think we all need to get a grip and focus on player performance and not what they earn.

    • terencemann

      I’m reading the coverage of his contract the same way as you in that it sounds like he has to pitch with the major league team at some point this year and next season to earn the full 5 MM, it’s just not clear how soon he has to make the big league club.

      I’m sure you were just holding your breath waiting for me to justify your reading skills and all…

  • Troy

    Per ken rosenthal the dodgers are shopping Ethier. Would the Cubs be tempted to pick up his contract?

    • ETS

      That post says that they might want to sign swisher to replace him??

      how does that conversation go??

      who’s the biggest name left?

      Well, hamilton signed so I guess… swisher? I mean, he’s no where near..

      Sign him!

      But we already have 3 outfielders better than him… well, maybe not crawford, but still?

      Then trade one of them! What part of this are you not getting?

      • hansman1982

        But that seems silly to trade a guy and then sign…


        Alright, so what is the goal here?


        I get that part…


        Damnit, Magic is stuck on the “ESPN reporting” mode…Susie, can you please get IT on the line.

  • Troy

    Nevermind statement from Dodgers say they aren’t trading Ethier.

  • Korean Goat

    Lim’s contract with the Cubs is a popular topic over here too.
    I read this on newspaper and translate to english roughly.
    Tom Ricketts : if rehab ends i have him called up unconditionally. no evaluation, no test game
    in minor. trust me. you really have a interesting pitching form. i heard a under-throwers
    are weak in lefthand batters, how do you compete with them?
    Lim : lefthand batter? no ploblem, i will over-throw, then.
    sorry poor english ;D

  • MightyBear–mlb.html?_sr=1

    This was pretty funny. I like the part where he made up his own Cubbie Christmas songs. My suggestion: Theo Sings “All I Want for Christmas is a third baseman, outfielder, starting pitching, relief pitching and bench help.”

    • Brett

      *Cough* Bullets *Cough*

      ( :) )

  • Jacob


    Just so you know, I never did find any fallacies in your articles! I had to go elsewhere for those… But, I did find 4 of my 6 arguments and ended up with an ‘A’ on the project! Thanks for your help in writing the arguments! haha.

    • Brett

      Hey, all right – congrats. And thanks.

  • md8232

    I’m partial to the nickname of “Maude” that another site gave to Phil.

  • Huey Lewis

    Not that we needed it but further proof Phil Rogers has become something of a waste of ink.

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