The Chicago Cubs today avoided arbitration with all six of their eligible players, meaning that everyone’s got their contract in place 2020, and there’s no more uncertainty about what those six players will be receiving. These deals do not impact trade talks, or the Kris Bryant service time grievance situation, or anything like that. These are just deals agreed to by players already under control so that they don’t have to fight next month about their salary.
Kris Bryant – $18.6 million
Javy Baez – $10 million
Kyle Schwarber – $7.01 million
Willson Contreras – $4.5 million
Albert Almora Jr. – $1.575 million
Kyle Ryan – $975,000
Total: $42.66 million
The projections had this group, in total, receiving $43.2 million, so our revised luxury tax payroll estimate for the Cubs in 2020 now comes in at $208,013,333 … or almost EXACTLY the $208 million luxury tax level for 2020.
Note that the current estimate leaves *zero* built-in flexibility for in-season moves, nor does in include any flexibility for accrued bonuses during the season. In other words, realistically, if the Cubs want to be under the luxury tax this year, they still have to CUT salary from here and not fully replace it. There’s no way around that reality if the Cubs are going to get under the luxury tax, and, by all outward appearances since September, they are definitely planning to do that. So, then, after after shaving some dollars off the estimate today, you can still expect a trade or two no matter what.
Note, from here, the Cubs could still put together extensions, which would impact the final 2020 AAV for these players, but the Cubs aren’t likely to do that until/unless they move other salary. Since any extension with these six would include future years with higher salaries than 2020 (otherwise the player wouldn’t sign … ), the extension would actually raise the 2020 AAV for that player. Not something the Cubs are going to want to do when they are currently sitting right at $208 million in luxury tax payroll.