2011 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have one option situation due after the season, and it's a crucial one.  Third baseman Aramis Ramirez faces a $14.6MM player option, which he'll think about after the season.  Ramirez also has a $16MM mutual option for 2012, which can vest if Ramirez wins the LCS or regular MVP award this year or next or makes the All-Star team both years.  Though he might not be able to get a $15MM salary on the open market, he could find more than one guaranteed year.  I expect history to repeat itself – Ramirez will opt out but eventually agree to an extension to stay with the Cubs.

The Cubs also have a pair of important free agents: Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly.  Both players want to stay, but it sounds like discussions will occur after the season.  The question might be more on the Cubs' side - GM Jim Hendry has a history of retaining his own free agents if he wants them back.  New Cubs Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy signed one-year deals, so they'll be eligible as well.  Ramirez, Lee, and Lilly will earn about $41MM in 2010. 

Increases to players under contract will total $6.1MM for 2011, topped by Marlon Byrd's $2.5MM bump.  On the flip side, the Cubs will pay Carlos Silva $6MM in 2011 as opposed to the $12MM they would've paid Milton BradleyGeovany Soto will get a raise as a first-year arbitration player, while the Cubs' second-year group includes Ryan Theriot, Carlos Marmol, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman, Tom Gorzelanny, and Koyie Hill

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

18 Responses to 2011 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs Leave a Reply

  1. timmytwoshoezzz 5 years ago

    Bravo Tim. I expected an article titled “2011 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs” to read more like War and Peace and less like a Poe short story. The Cubs have alot of bad contracts, great work getting the concise story out.

  2. I think it’s safe to say that Aramis will pick up his player option. For the cubs, 14.6 million could be spent on players much worse than Ramirez, so it’s not too terrible. As for Derrek Lee, I would like to see him remain a cub as his bat has shown consistent pop and his defense is still very solid. I do think he will have to take a salary hit if he were to resign because let’s face it, his market does not command 13 mill anymore. Do you think its possible for the cubs to unload Fukudome via trade to make room for Tyler Colvin? I would love to see the cubs get younger next season and give some of the blue chippers a shot, people like Vitters, Castro et al. If this is not the plan of the front office then package some young talent together and trade for carl crawford midseason. I think hendry needs to reevaluate the teams approach to establishing a productive lineup. The next 2 years provide plenty of opportunity to change the way baseball is played on the north side. Fortunately for the cubs, finding and developing pitching talent has been an area of strength for this team.

  3. 1989cubs 5 years ago

    Don’t be surprised to see Lilly, Lee or Ramirez traded (or maybe even all three) if the Cubs are way out of it come July.

    And I expect to see Castro up and playing everyday as soon as enough time has passed for him not to earn an extra year of service for this season.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      all 3 have full NTC’s. as do soriano, zambrano, dempster, and i think fukodome.

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        You are correct, and might I add…

        So does Shark-Bait!


  4. If this season doesn’t go well I’m all for the Cubs cleaning house and starting over. If this team can contend though I wouldn’t mind seeing Lee and Lilly brought back. If Ramirez opts out he should be brought back if the team can contend and let go if the team is bad. Dropping $41 million from payroll, even if it’s the three best players on the team, would go a long way toward allowing the team to spend it’s money on younger players. Obviously Soriano, Fukudome and Zambrano aren’t going anywhere unless the Cubs eat salary but they could be traded as well to free up more payroll. If that happens I’d rather see the team eat more salary and get better players back than vice versa. Young guys from the farm could be brought up and younger, high end free agents could be bought to fill the remaining holes. In all they could get younger, cheaper and perhaps better. It may take a few years to get back to contention and it would probably take a different GM to handle all that but it’s probably for the better.

  5. Suzysman 5 years ago

    With Hendry likely to be out the door, most of our 2011 decisions are a complete unknown.

    I think Aramis is a safe bet to accept. 2/30.6 is tough to forfeit when it would be one of the highest AAV signed last offseason. Opting out might mean a 4/36 contract like the one Figgens signed, and that would be a horrific business move on his part. That said, a 3/38-3/40 re-negotiated extension wouldnt surprise me either.

    But beyond that I can only say what Hendry is likely to do – not what the unknown new GM would. And I personally refuse to allow for the possibility of Hendry returning :)

  6. SosaCrackers 5 years ago

    need to quit with the rebuilding crap, our prospects are simply not close enough to be able to start yet it wont hurt to have these contracts much longer, there are no better options out there right now anyway.

  7. Ricky Bones 5 years ago

    The Cubs will never go into a full rebuild mode. WGN will not allow them to do so in order to guard against a drop to their ratings/advertising revenue as a result of lack of interest/poor attendance.

  8. godzillacub 5 years ago

    The Cubs need to upgrade their roster paradigm to a more contemporary system (such as the Red Sox). Currently the team is functioning closer to a Yankee paradigm from years prior, specifically buying talent via free agency and not grooming players from within (1 starting position player from our system).

    The switch of this paradigm can resemble to the traditional baseball fan as “rebuilding” because it involves letting talent go (such as Lee, Lilly, etc.) but I agree with Ricky Bones, the team will never enter a fire sale, Marlin-style, rebuilding.

    This shift begins by removing Hendry and Piniella. The times have passed both and both can no longer positively contribute to the team (in comparison to other GMs/Coaches).

  9. SosaCrackers 5 years ago

    the cubs will rebuild, just not host a firesale. they have bad contracts, but not for much longer just as our top prospects will be mlb ready. not sure if its really considered rebuilding because its really just letting free agents leave

  10. cubsfan4life10 5 years ago

    I hope the Cubs will resign Ted Lilly, because he is one of the Cubs most reliable starters
    (not including this season).

  11. cubsfan4life10 5 years ago

    I hope the Cubs will resign Ted Lilly, because he is one of the Cubs most reliable starters
    (not including this season).

  12. cubsfan4life10 5 years ago

    I could see the Cubs not resigning Derrek Lee if he has a bad season this year, and then trying to sign a free agent later. Hopefully he turns his season around and the Cubs do resign him because they could use his glove at first.

  13. ubercubsfan 5 years ago

    Cubs should not resign DLee this year and bring up Chad Tracy to play 1st base. They should drop Baker while they are at it. Then after 2011 if Ramirez is back in form pick up his option and slide him to first and bring up Vitters to play 3rd.

    Theriot 2nd
    Castro SS
    Fukudome RF
    Ramirez 1st
    Soriano LF
    Soto C
    Byrd CF
    Vitters 3rd

    Anybody think Lee will be ready to play SS in 2012 and move Castro over to 2nd?

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