How Much Money Do the Cubs Have Coming Off the Books After This Season?

With Jason Heyward’s contract finally falling off the books this winter, I think this offseason FELT like the one that would see the biggest drop in future financial commitments for the Chicago Cubs. But another bigger drop is on the way.

For example, after the 2024 season, the Chicago Cubs will see the following players (and salary) come off the books entirely:

  1. Kyle Hendricks: $16M in 2024, free agent in 2025 (Savings: $16M)
  2. Drew Smyly: $8.5M in 2024, $2.5M buyout in 2025 (Savings: $6M)
  3. Yan Gomes: $6M in 2024, free agent in 2025 (Savings: $6M)
  4. Tucker Barnhart: $3.25M in 2024, free agent in 2025 (Savings: $3.25M)
  5. Trey Mancini: $7M in 2024, free agent in 2025 (Savings: $7M)
  6. David Bote: $5.5M in 2024, $1M buyout in 2025 (Savings: $4.5M)

Those six players alone account for $42.75M. But throw in the $5M buyout of Cody Bellinger (which Roster Resource is attaching to 2024) and the $800K for Brad Boxberger’s buyout, and you’re approaching $50M coming off the books. And while that normally just leaves you with massive vacancies to fill, much of that money is due to either dead contracts or less-than-productive players.

Basically, I’m saying losing Yan Gomes and Kyle Hendricks might hurt, but the rest is very easily replaceable and/or not actually losing anything at all.

And that’s not all!

While Dansby Swanson is due a $2M raise between 2024 and 2025, Seiya Suzuki actually gets a $2M decrease in pay (note: these are real cash figures, not AAV for luxury tax purposes). Meanwhile, the only other players under contract (Ian Happ, Jameson Taillon, and Nico Hoerner) all keep their same salary between 2024 and 2025. That means the only additional “raises” that could inflate that number for the Cubs is arbitration. But a quick look there and I see only two players who may even generate significant arbitration salaries in 2025:

  • Patrick Wisdom: Arb 2 in 2025
  • Nick Madrigal: Arb 2
  • Mike Tauchman: Arb 3
  • Julian Merryweather: Arb 2
  • Adbert Alzolay: Arb 2
  • Mark Leiter Jr.: Arb 2
  • Justin Steele: Arb 2
  • Pretty much only Steele and Alzolay have any shot of making BIG money on this list, which further underscores the point: After 2024, as of now, the Cubs have a lot more money coming off the books, without losing much talent in the process.

    The story is good on the luxury tax side of things, too. Though Roster Resource has the 2024 Cubs estimated luxury tax payroll at $185.9M ($51.1M beneath the first tier of the luxury tax ($237M)), they have the 2025 figure all the way down at $112.9M … which would leave the Cubs with $128M in 2025 luxury tax space!

    Now, the Cubs are not going to sit on their hands all winter. They’ll sign and trade for players, adding significant salary in the process.

    But that’s sort of the point: The Cubs don’t just have a ton of room to spend this offseason, their books are pretty dang clean moving forward. If ever there was a time to spend big on the club, it’s these next two winters.

    Sources used in creation of this post: Roster Resource (via FanGraphs), Cots Contracts, MLB.com

    written by

    Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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