Chicago Cubs: Agreements reached with all arbitration eligible players

Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Pitchers get much-deserved raise

Cubs pitching last season battled rain, a nonsensical forty straight games, and a season-long hot and cold line up that went dead in September.  These guys earned their raises this year.

Kyle Hendricks, at $7.405 million, will earn more in 2019 than in his previous six seasons combined.  In 2018 Hendricks pitched to a 3.44 ERA and 1.146 WHIP for what was likely his second-best season after his 2016 near Cy Young season.  It didn’t start out that way, with a first half 3.92 ERA and 1.196 WHIP, giving 31 walks and 17 home runs.  But 2016 Kyle showed up in the second half, pitching to a 2.84 ERA, 1.083 WHIP while walking just 13 and allowing five home runs.

Mike Montgomery‘s 2018 season looked a lot like Cubs 2018: cold, hot, cold, hot again, then collapse.  But his efforts to fill for the injured Yu Darvish helped the Cubs avoid a total catastrophe in the starting rotation until Cole Hamels arrived at the end of July.  With an aging rotation, the versatile Montgomery will be more valuable than ever.   The Cubs and Montgomery agreed to a$2.44 million contract.

Last but not least is Carl Edwards Jr.  Most remember his horrible September in 2018.  But there’s that April with 0.66 ERA and 0.879 WHIP, 23 Ks to five walks over 13 and a third innings the July with a 2.35 ERA, 0.913 WHIP, 11 Ks and 2 walks over seven and two thirds after coming off the DL, or the 0.73 ERA in August, 1.054 WHIP.   The kid has a bright future and the $1.5 million deal will play just fine for his first year of arbitration.

Next. Chicago Cubs: Is the team operating under the Bryce Harper tax?. dark

Where do things stand now and what lies ahead

The Cubs current total payroll against the threshold stands at about $220-plus million, well over the $206 million threshold.  Because they avoided going over the threshold in 2018 they will face a 20 percent tax on the amount over $206 million or roughly 20 percent of $19 million, or $3.8 million if the payroll doesn’t go higher.

If they go over the $226 mark they will also incur a 12 percent tax on the amount over that level.  If they sign a Harper or Machado at $30-plus million they’ll face even steeper taxes and have their highest draft pick moved back ten places. Can they afford that? Sure. Do they want to, or will they?  No.