Chicago Cubs: Get Manny Machado! Get Bryce Harper! No, get real.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Rampant and rabid speculation regarding the Chicago Cubs and big-ticket free agents continues. But there’s way more to the discussion than star power.

While adding Manny Machado or Bryce Harper undoubtedly adds excitement to the Chicago Cubs, too many factors make such moves improbable. Among those are the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), provisions impacting overall team spending and the players headed toward arbitration and free agent seasons.

The CBA imposes costs on free-spending teams

The spending thresholds in the new CBA are as follows: $195 million in 2017, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $208 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.  Teams that exceed these marks will be forced to pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes, with escalating fines for repeat offenders.

Further, teams that are $40+ million over the threshold have their top draft pick moved back ten spots.

Lastly, large market teams will now lose their second and fourth-highest picks for signing a free agent that declined a qualifying offer.  These provisions are why 2018 free agency went the course it went.  Teams will be sure to negotiate these new waters prudently.