It’s officially official, so the physical must’ve turned out all right. Steven Souza, Jr. is the first fully-completed big league contract of the offseason for the Cubs.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 29, 2020
The details on Souza’s contract:
Cubs’ deal with OF Steven Souza Jr. is done. Base salary of $1M with $1M available in non-IL roster bonuses and another $1M available in performance bonuses.
Jeffress deal not official yet.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) January 28, 2020
Souza contract official:
Worth $1 million base salary
Plus potential bonuses for:
200 PA ($50k)
250 PA ($75k)
300 PA ($125k)
350 PA ($150k)
400 PA ($200k)
450 PA ($200k)
500 PA ($200k)
And $200k for each of the following: 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 days on active roster.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) January 29, 2020
Essentially, Souza is getting a big league deal for a little over the minimum, and then he can make it $2 million if he’s reasonably healthy for the season and is a useful bench guy. From there, he can up it to $3 million if he’s good enough to start regularly. Works for me.
And since he’s at five years service time, presumably it’s of the type that isn’t fully guaranteed until Opening Day. If so, could be cut in Spring Training with 30 or 45 days termination pay if he isn’t looking like he’ll make the team. A little extra hedge in case the year and a half away from the game prove to have eroded his skills significantly.
Souza, 30, was looking like the breakout star he’d long been projected to be in 2017, but a variety of injuries derailed his 2018 season, and then a catastrophic knee injury took his whole 2018 season. More on his performance and expectations here.
On the Cubs, he’s most likely to emerge as a 4th outfielder, rotating throughout the outfield as needed and for match-ups – each of the left field (Schwarber), center field (Happ), and right field (Heyward) regulars has struggled at times against lefties, and Souza, when healthy, has hit lefties particularly well. Given his ability (again, when healthy) to play adequately all over the outfield, he’s a perfect 4th outfielder for this Cubs team, particularly if Albert Almora, Jr. doesn’t have an unforeseen and dramatic turnaround at the plate.
And if Souza shows himself to be more than just a bench guy – he certainly had the talent pre-injury – then everybody wins, and he hits free agency looking for a big score.
The 40-man roster is now a full 40, with the Jeremy Jeffress addition still pending. So someone is soon getting the boot.