The leaders of the Cubs met Bryce Harper and officer Scott Boras at the winter meetings, holding talks that would have lasted about three hours, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. No agreement seems to be close between the two sides, although the most intriguing detail of the meeting is that baseball operations president Theo Epstein asked Harper and Boras to check with the Cubs before agreeing to a meeting. agree with another team to: give the Cubs more time to try to create a pay zone for the free agent slugger.
Since the end of the season, we all hear that the Cubs have little way to spend money and outside of modest agreements to sign Daniel Descalso and Kendall Gravemanthere has not been much activity coming out of Wrigley Field. The decision to exercise Cole HamelsThe club option is still the Cubs' biggest move this winter, and this transaction required a corresponding move ( Drew Smyly to the Rangers) to save money.
The Cubs certainly have their share of high-price contracts that have not yet succeeded – Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Brian Duensing, Brandon Kintzler, and Brandon Morrow stand out as players who have delivered sub-seasons in 2018, either due to injury or simply poor performance. Of course, these same reasons constitute major obstacles to finding a trading partner for one of these names. The difficulty of the team lies in the fact that the Cubs are intent on arguing in 2019, which is why they do not seriously consider tackling Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo.
A bit of creativity will certainly be needed if Epstein and his reception desk plan to engage seriously with Harper, knowing that Boras is intent on securing a record deal for the paralyzed player. Chicago could certainly explore the type of luxury commerce with payroll tax reduction that the Dodgers have become experts in recent years, most recently their exchange seven against the Reds just two days ago. Rumor has it that this deal would be part of Harper's pursuit by the Dodgers, so the Cubs could already be behind the Dodgers in this regard, though Harper (like most of Boras' big-client clients) should not sign only later in the month. out of season.
According to Roster Resource, Cubs are currently paying a payroll greater than $ 220 million next season, which translates into a projected luxury tax cost of just under $ 234.5 million (recall : the payroll of the luxury tax does the numbers in dollars on the payroll of the MLB). This puts them in a position to exceed the competitive balance threshold of $ 206 million and thus pay a tax penalty equal to 20% of each passing dollar. This is the "first stopwatch" rate for any team exceeding the threshold but remaining below the line the previous season. If the Cubs' tax bill were to exceed $ 246 million next season, they would face a heavier financial penalty and a 10-point drop in the draft order for their highest pick in the 2019 project. amateur. (The Red Sox faced this penalty for their $ 40 + surplus last season.)
The Cubs have had to pay a luxury tax only once in their history, as crossing the CBT threshold in 2016 has resulted in a tax bill $ 2.96 million. Needless to say, it was a small price to pay as the Cubs ended their drought at the World Series that season. As Tim Dierkes of MLBTR has observed in the past, the actual amount surrendered for these luxury tax payments represents a real downfall for a team of large markets, so there is no major financial disadvantage to crossing the threshold. once, even several times.
The Cubs should also have even more revenue in the form of a new television contract, although the homeowner may wish this money to be in place before making future financial commitments. 2019 is also the last year of guaranteed wages for Hamels, Morrow, Kintzler, Duensing, Ben Zobrist, Steve Cishek, and Pedro StropSo, there will be a lot of money on the payroll that will be available next winter to help dodge the tax threshold, or at least avoid the higher penalty of $ 40 million. + surplus.