Tallying MLB Spending So Far: Cubs Have Spent Fifth Most in Baseball This Offseason

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Tallying MLB Spending So Far: Cubs Have Spent Fifth Most in Baseball This Offseason

Chicago Cubs

It is absolutely the right thing to note, firstly, that the Chicago Cubs didn’t commit to many big money deals the last few years, and then sold off massively at the Trade Deadline last year (plus the Yu Darvish deal the winter before). So, among the teams that COULD commit to new money this offseason, the Cubs were absolutely right up there.

However.

I keep seeing this through line pop up again and again about this offseason, and I just think it’s worth at least putting some facts to it. The story goes something like this: the Cubs didn’t extend anyone, then sold off last year, and now they’re never going to spend again because they just want to save as much money as possible.

Go with that wherever you want. For me, I think there’s some truth to two things: (1) Cubs ownership didn’t allow the purse strings to stretch quite enough during the 2017-19 period to REALLY push for another championship, and even as I recognize they temporarily went over the luxury tax, I think more could’ve been done; (2) the revenue hit in 2020 and early 2021 because of the pandemic was real. In my experience, people get mad at you for believing either of those things, so feel free to jump on me. I just believe those two things are true, and explain a lot of the fair and unfair criticism on the Cubs’ spending this year.

But, like I said, let’s just make sure we have some facts on the table.

This offseason, the Chicago Cubs have committed $225.5 million in new money this offseason, from the big signings (Seiya Suzuki at $85 million plus a $15 million posting fee; Marcus Stroman at $71 million guaranteed) to the medium pick-ups (snagging Wade Miley at $10 million, guaranteeing Yan Gomes $13 million) to the many, many bulk signings (the Cubs’ 12 free agent deals are the most in baseball so far this offseason).

That $225.5 million for the Cubs this offseason? It’s the fifth most new money committed of any team in baseball this offseason. The Rangers, Dodgers, Mets, and Tigers have committed more new money. That’s the list.

Again, it’s important to reiterate that the Cubs HAD SO MUCH SPACE AVAILABLE to commit new money, so they get only so many gold stars for doing what they SHOULD be doing. But my point is: they are doing it. The Cubs were supposed to spend a lot of new money this offseason, and they have. It simply is not accurate to say that the Cubs are at present sitting on their money. Maybe they haven’t spent it the way you wanted. Maybe they haven’t gone crazy like the Rangers (who, by the way, still project to win fewer games than the Cubs). Maybe they didn’t get one of the elite shortstops. Those are all things you can say and beef about if you want. But this idea that they have not spent is fantasyland stuff.

None of this is to say the Cubs look like a clear winner on paper, by the way. The hole the roster was in to start the offseason – a hole that was largely self-inflicted by virtue of various failings from 2017 to 2019, in my opinion – was so deep that climbing out in a single offseason of spending was going to be nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean the Cubs can’t give themselves a shot to compete in the first half (10 to 15%?), it just means that becoming an obvious on-paper playoff team in a single offseason was probably going to require massive trades of prospect pieces that the Cubs (rightly) had no interest in doing right now.

So, instead, they went the money route, stayed mostly shorter term, and committed a lot of money.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.