Chicago Cubs: Here’s where payroll stands heading into the offseason

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Frank Schwindel / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: A majority of players are pre-arb with remaining team control

QUICK NOTE: League-minimum salary, pre-arb/arb, service time, etc. could see some significant changes this offseason as the current CBA expires this year.

To easily break down pre-arb players currently on the Cubs, we will do position players and pitchers. Pre-arbitration MLB players typically make around league minimum in salary. In 2021 the league minimum was at $570.5K. It has steadily increased over the years. Reminder: Per Spotrac, the following pre-arb players have at least another year of team control beyond 2021. There are other pre-arb players currently on the roster who could be a part of the team in 2022.

Position Players: 

Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, Patrick Wisdom, Frank Schwindel, Rafael Ortega, Michael Hermosillo, Sergio Alcantara


Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay, Codi Heuer, Adrian Sampson, Kohl Stewart, Rowan Wick, Brad Wieck

Two of the key cornerstones of the future can be found here in Hoerner and Madrigal. Both are set to be arbitration-eligible in 2023. Obviously, count on them being part of the team in 2022 and make around the league minimum unless Hoyer decides to extend one or two of them on a club-friendly deal a la Rick Hahn. Not sure that will actually happen but just throwing it out there.

Alzolay, Heuer and Wick have at least established themselves as being part of the future with the upside they have shown. Even with Alzolay’s struggles as a starter, his work as a reliever has been good and it is hard to throw in the towel on a guy that has the stuff he has. Mills seems more likely than not to stick around as well as bottom-rotation depth and Sampson has played well enough to earn a look in 2022.

Position-wise, much has been made about the efforts of Wisdom, Schwindel and Ortega. It is fair to say these guys have earned another look beyond this year. Do not expect anything more than one-year looks and no long-term extensions as these are late-bloomers around age 30. Again you are looking around league minimum if they are on MLB contracts (as opposed to MiLB contracts or non-roster invitees). With all of this said, what the Cubs do in free agency could determine how many of these types of guys will be back next year. If there is a chance to strengthen a position with a proven veteran, then one of these guys could be an odd man out.

The rest of the payroll outside of trades and free agents will be determined by which prospects/minor leaguers will make their way to the roster. The current 40-man roster per includes minor leaguers Brailyn Marquez, Jason Adam, Corey Abbott, Anderson Espinoza, Alexander Vizcaino, Miguel Amaya, Christopher Morel and Alexander Canario. This will obviously fluctuate as time goes on.

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Digesting all of this info leads to one conclusion, the Cubs have to spend this offseason. If they want to improve they need to spend wisely and they do not have an excuse not to. The financial flexibility will be there, even adding in arbitration and pre-arb players. What will be really interesting is to see how the new CBA negotiations play out.