February 25, 2021

Grading Theo Epstein’s Cubs Free Agent Signings (MLB Trade Rumors)

Theo Epstein has served as the Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations for nine offseasons now.  With an eye on contending beginning in 2015, the club committed at least $191MM in three of four offseasons.  The Cubs were able to avoid paying the luxury tax in 2018, resetting their penalty percentages for 2019.  Under the designation of a first-time payor, the club received a $7.6MM luxury tax bill for ’19.  For 2020, it appears Cubs ownership under the Ricketts family is again treating the base tax threshold – $208MM for 2020 – as something of a salary cap.  Based on the team’s quiet offseason, it appears that the Ricketts aren’t willing to go much beyond that point.

Had the Cubs brushed up against the second surcharge threshold of $248MM, they would have been subject to a tax bill in the neighborhood of $14MM, and could have potentially reset in 2021 with Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood coming off the books.  Given that relatively modest one-time penalty, the…

Read “Grading Theo Epstein’s Cubs Free Agent Signings” at MLB Trade Rumors