Chicago Cubs: 4 reasons why 2024 is the year you should have circled

Paul Seifert
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Chicago Cubs: Payroll is everything in today’s game

In 2011, the Cubs payroll was sixth in MLB.  By 2014, it was 23rd.  That’s what happens to a payroll during a teardown.  In 2019, the Cubs were second in payroll and third in 2020.  They were over the Competitive Balance Threshold both years, and yet they won zero postseason games.   Sounds like 2011 to me.

So where to from here? I’m looking at you 2024.

The Cubs have just $44 million committed in 2022 before you add arbitration players and any signings.  Who is owned most of that?  Jason Heyward … $22 million of it.

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So why 2024?  First, the Heyward contract is off the books.  Second, Hendricks, though costing far less, is also off the books by 2024, unless he is extended. Third, only two current roster players would be in their third arbitration-eligible season, Patrick Wisdom and Rafael Ortega, assuming they aren’t traded.

As it stands now, by 2024 the amount committed drops to just $5.5 million (David Bote) before arbitration and signings.  The payroll will be at rock bottom.

Coinciding with this minimalist payroll, much of the talent in the minors will have percolated up to Triple-A Iowa by 2024. Of course you’ll know this because you’ve been observing to know when this rebuild will end.

One more thing about 2024.  The Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Mets, Braves and Cardinals will be getting older, with payrolls bloated with declining veteran talent.  The Cubs will be getting younger, with maximum payroll flexibility.  All of that is why 2024 is when Chicago makes their move.

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So, forget the MLB team for the next two years, unless beating your toes with a hammer sounds like fun.  If you pay close to attention to the minors, the MLB roster additions and subtractions, and the trades, you’ll find the next winning horizon coming on faster than you’d think.