Today, the Cubs officially announced the Shae Simmons signing as a Major League split contract, which means it *is* a big league deal – he goes on the 40-man roster – but he’ll make less money if/when he’s in the minor leagues. Usually when a guy gets a big league deal, even if he’s optioned to the minors, he keeps his money. But then, it’s rare that a guy who has minor league options is out there as a free agent signing a big league contract in the first place – so it’s a bit of an atypical situation to begin with.
Simmons, 27, will reportedly receive a $750,000 when he’s in the big leagues, but a $120,000 salary when he’s in the minor leagues. It’s a buy-low situation, but Simmons had a great big league debut in 2014. He’s still got a nice fastball-slider combo, but he’s battled health issues since then. If things work out, the Cubs can still control his rights for two more years of arbitration.
In the meantime, Simmons can be optioned to AAA Iowa if he doesn’t make the big league bullpen right out of the gate. He’s in the competition for that 8th spot right now with, among others, Justin Grimm, Dillon Maples, Eddie Butler (I’m guessing, since he’s out of options and he isn’t projected to make the rotation), and Dario Alvarez.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs transferred lefty Drew Smyly to the 60-day disabled list, which removes him from the 40-man roster for the duration of his stay. Recovering from June 2017 Tommy John surgery, Smyly is not expected to contribute to the 2018 Cubs, if at all, until August/September. His placement on the 60-day DL was always coming.