Cubs: 3 players who could get traded if team struggles: #1 – David Bote
Hindsight is 20/20 – and that certainly applies when looking back at the David Bote contract extension Theo Epstein doled out to the utility man back in 2019. Bote got five years at a total value of $15 million, with a pair of club options tacked on to the back end that could keep him in Chicago through 2026.
Since the start of 2019, Bote has racked up a total of 1.5 bWAR – and has really failed to get consistent results at the plate. But there’s a silver lining here. His contract was heavily backloaded and Epstein’s successor might just be able to wiggle his way out of it if Bote has a strong first half this year.
Bote earned just $1 million last year – but that climbs annually, with him making $2.5 million in 2022, $4 million in 2023 and $5.5 million in 2024. The club option for 2025 is worth $7 million and the 2026 option comes with a $7.6 million price tag. Let’s take the club options out of this for a second – and you’re looking at a little over $10 million by the time the trade deadline hits for a guy who plays multiple positions and has shown decent pop.
It’s not an untradable asset by any stretch. Coming off a shoulder injury that will delay his start in 2022, Bote will need to prove he’s A) healthy and B) ready to get back to what made him so popular back in 2018 and 2019, when, despite being just a league average bat, he showed a proclivity for coming up with knocks in big spots.
Unloading the rest of Bote’s deal certainly doesn’t create the same type of flexibility you’d get in dumping Jason Heyward’s contract, but it wouldn’t hurt matters – especially if some of the younger guys show they’re ready and Bote becomes the odd man out in the mix.