Chicago Cubs: Done with arbitration, Theo Epstein is ready to strike

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs are set with their arbitration-eligible players. They are now able to explore moves but the question is, what will they be, and when?

The Cubs offseason has been quiet. But it’s the kind of quiet that has one thinking, “Hmm, too quiet.” Fans and writers have lamented the lack of offseason moves.  But with so many key players arbitration eligible it was difficult for Theo and the gang to make any moves until that was resolved. Then there is the Kris Bryant service time grievance that remains in limbo.

All that being said, Chicago reached agreements with Bryant, ($18.6 million), the best defender in baseball according to Statcast Javier Baez ($10 million), Kyle Schwarber ($7.01 million), Willson Contreras ($4.5 million), Albert Almora ($1.575 million), and pitcher Kyle Ryan ($975K) – avoiding arbitration hearings with all six players.

That’s $42.66 million allocated to those half-dozen players.  According to Spotrac, the club’s payroll now stands at $210.215 million, just $2.215 million over the luxury tax threshold.

That’s not the whole story because the entire 40-man roster isn’t set.  The payroll will undoubtedly creep up once that happens.  Nonetheless, the Cubs are now positioned to begin seriously exploring potential moves.

There has been a lot of “woe is us” by Theo Epstein and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts about the payroll and luxury tax. Too much in my opinion.  To say it once, ok maybe; twice, ok I get it; over and over again and it starts to sound like “thou protest too much.”  I’m not buying that the Cubs will stand pat all season.