We had wondered for a while when the Cubs would jump in on the extension wagon circling MLB this Spring, and then they surprised us with a nice, beefy-but-reasonable four-year deal with Kyle Hendricks. There were other extensions candidates among the core, but Hendricks’ free agency was approaching more quickly than the rest, so he made a ton of sense.
But now, we know the Cubs aren’t stopping there, even if this next guy/deal wasn’t one we were exactly expecting:
The #Cubs and INF David Bote have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension covering the 2020-2024 seasons.
The deal includes club options for 2025 & 2026. pic.twitter.com/onnq2kcdNz
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 3, 2019
David Bote, 25, broke in to the big leagues as a utility man and bench bat – and serial walk-off winner/fan favorite – last season, and less than one year later the Cubs have decided to extend him. Before this deal took hold, the Cubs had control over Bote through the 2024 season, but now they’ll add two years of free agency to the docket, via options. In addition to the potential for two extra years of control, the Cubs will now also have more cost certainty, as Bote will forego any potential raises via arbitration (which wouldn’t have started until the 2022 season).
Here’s his breakdown (via Mark Gonzales):
Signing Bonus: $50K
2025: Club option of $7M ($1M buyout)
2026: Club option of $7.6M ($500K buyout)
So basically, Bote gets $15 million guaranteed from 2020-2024, but could earn as much $28.6M if both options are exercised. There are also apparently incentives included in the deal, as well.
I’d say this deal says a lot about what the Cubs think of Bote and/or their plans for Addison Russell, given the infield mix – and maybe it does – but Bote apparently approached the Cubs, not the other way around:
Bote initiated the talks, per Theo
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) April 3, 2019
So while those other points may have played a role in the Cubs decision, this was a player-driven extension. And I must say, for a player like Bote, who’s an in-between guy (not quite an everyday starter yet, but plenty of talent), who was never a top prospect but ground his way to The Show, I don’t actually hate taking the guaranteed money. There’s a chance he’s nothing more than a bench bat/defensive replacement for most of his career, but he locked down a job and life-changing money up front. Nothing wrong with that.
Obviously, if he ever turns into anything more than that, this deal will look incredibly good for the Cubs. And given Bote’s power, defensive prowess, and versatility, it’s not entirely out of the question. It’s a good, small risk by the Cubs.
This wasn’t the extension I was expecting to see next, but I’m not mad about it either. Way to go, Cubs. Way to go, Bote.