Chicago Cubs: Eight weeks until Spring Training and still crickets

Theo Epstein, David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Theo Epstein, David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The decision starts with payroll

The decision to reload or rebuild starts where it always starts, payroll.  But before you can understand the Cubs’ current standing in this regard, you need to have at least a basic understanding about the luxury tax in Major League Baseball

There are three tiers of said luxury tax. The first, set at $206 million, the second at $226 million and the third and highest at $246 million. Teams pay a 20 percent tax on the amount spent from $206 to $226 million and 32 percent from $226 to $246 million.

Still with me?

If money is literally no concern to your organization and you exceed that final $246 million threshold, you pay a staggering 62.5 percent tax on anything you spend above that amount and it costs you 10 spots in the draft. Suffice to say, there are a lot of reasons teams don’t want to blow past that number.

Back to the Cubs. According to Spotrac, Chicago is still slightly above the first luxury tax threshold. The team exceeded the second tier in 2019, incurring a first-time tax penalty of $7.6 million. Will they exceed any of these marks in 2020? It’s hard to say.

It’s a tricky answer I’ll leave for you to read about from our friends at Bleacher Nation, but the answer appears to be ‘no’.  Without much flexibility in the budget, could the Cubs just sell it all off,  tear down and rebuild?