2012 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.

Eligible For Free Agency (5)

  • Kosuke Fukudome has had a respectable Cubs career, getting on base at a .370 clip and playing solid right field defense.  However, he hasn't hit for much power and he has been streaky, mixing great months with terrible ones.  He's a useful player, but not a $12MM one, and I think this is his last year with the Cubs.
  • Carlos Pena is probably a rental, one that could benefit both sides if he rediscovers his 35 home run pop.
  • John Grabow's extension was questionable when it was signed, and he'll probably be allowed to leave.
  • Kerry Wood might be retained if he has a solid year, though the Cubs probably won't manage a $1.5MM base salary in that case.
  • Reed Johnson is also eligible for free agency after the season.

Contract Options (2)

  • Aramis Ramirez: $16MM mutual/vesting option for 2012 with a $2MM buyout.  Ramirez has a complicated contract.  He can void the 2012 option and forfeit the buyout, which seems possible with a strong year.  The option can vest in various situations, the most likely of which is Ramirez being traded unless you are optimistic about the third baseman winning the NL or NLCS MVP award.  He can still void the option if it vests, so Ramirez once again controls his fate.  The difference this time will be the Cubs' ability to decline their side.
  • Ryan Dempster: $14MM player option.  The Cubs are also at the mercy of Dempster.  If the righty's 2011 is similar to his 2008-10 campaigns, the best business move would be to decline the option and seek a new contract.  However, he does have a long relationship with Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

Arbitration Eligible (6)

Assuming at least Wells, Soto, and Garza are tendered contracts, the Cubs might be looking at $17MM or so in arbitration salaries.  They might be able to reduce their 2012 obligation by agreeing to an extension with Soto or Garza.

2012 Payroll Obligation

Not counting Ramirez's buyout or Dempster's salary, the Cubs have a 2012 payroll obligation of $56.6MM, significantly below their typical $135MM range.  If Ramirez and Dempster have poor seasons, the Cubs might have to add another $2MM for Ramirez's buyout and $14MM for Dempster's 2012 salary, bringing the obligation to $72.6MM.  The team could have needs in the rotation and at both infield corners, plus a lot of money to spend, so it should be an interesting 2011-12 offseason.


45 Responses to 2012 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs Leave a Reply

  1. I think the cubs need to tack on a 3 years and $54 million to Soriano’s contract.

  2. So, the question is, Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder?

    • frickafracka 4 years ago

      They should sign both and platoon them.

      • phoenix2042 4 years ago

        Obviously this was a joke, but it got me thinking if Fielder against RHP (so platoon advantage) was actually better than Pujols vs RHP (platoon disadvantage)? And this is what I found (all career numbers): Fielder has a .407 wOBA from a .405 OBP and a .280 ISO. Pujols has a .428 wOBA from a .419 OBP and .287 ISO. So platooning Fielder and Pujols would actually be WORSE than just playing Albert. And that’s without considering defense. Basically, Albert Pujols is boss.

    • That’s like asking the Los Angeles Lakers or the Los Angeles Clippers

    • Fat Albert isn’t going anywhere. Prince Fielder is going to chase the last dollar. I wouldn’t go more the $65 million for Fielder.

      • mmontice 4 years ago

        Jelly Roll (Fielder) is going to want at least what Howard got, and that is 5/$125, which is a ton of money for someone in that type of physical shape.

        I probably wouldn’t do it, but then again, what do the Cubs spend their money on this offseason? Not very many intriguing SP’s or 3B, and they are pretty set elsewhere. I just don’t want to see them spend to spend. They could be better off running young guys out there for another year, seeing what they got, and then make a big run in 2012.

        • Well I want what Howard got too. Doesn’t mean i’ll get it though. If any team offers Fielder that kind of money for being that out of shape, they need to be fire immediately.

          • mmontice 4 years ago

            My guess is someone will do it or get pretty damn close to it.

          • He won’t get close to $25 million a year. If someone is stupid enough to give him a big contract it will max out at $18 million a year over 6 years. This is the one Scott Boras client I could see not having very much interest in him.

        • Bob George 4 years ago

          They would be better off moving Colvin to 1b full-time, he’s not a very good defensive OF. That would open up RF for Brett Jackson next season, or Jackson could play CF if Byrd is traded and they could bring in a RF.

          They need to have learned their lesson from all the horrible long-term contracts and not rush out and sign another one.

          • mmontice 4 years ago

            Let’s make sure Colvin can bat >.250 with some decent OBP skills before he is penciled in as the Cubs full-time 1B. I really hope he succeeds, but am still not convinced he is full-time MLB starter. Hopefully he breaks out of his current funk in the near future.

        • mmontice 4 years ago

          Sorry, big run in 2013.

      • Guest 4 years ago

        I think the Cubs need to swing a trade with the Rangers for Chris Davis at 1B. Stop spending money on players like Fielder just because they’re FAs and available to sign.

    • davewpeterson 4 years ago

      I hope neither

  3. MonsterPike 4 years ago

    I thought the Cubs signed Garza to a three yr. contract at $5.9 to $6 mil per after they acquired him, to avoid the arbitration process thru 2013….??? At least that’s what I thought happened… Anyone else remember that?

  4. rockfordone 4 years ago

    The Garza trade killed them for two or three years. Should stayed with Fuld, Colvin and Jackson outfield for 2013. With Soriano in left, Colvin plays first and Vitters at third.
    O’well – fire Hendry

    • Bob George 4 years ago

      Why did the Garza trade “kill them for two or three years”??

      Archer has 1 year of minor league success as a starter and most baseball people project him as a reliever.

      Guyer is a 4A player. Chironos is an old catching prospect who was buried in a deep position for Chicago. Lee is a promising SS but has no power at this point and most resembles Kaz Matsui.

      Fuld is not an everyday player, despite the tear he is currently on.

      Garza is a quality, relatively young SP entering his prime, salary controlled for 3 seasons.

      Best case scenario for Tampa is Archer becomes a good big league pitcher, not sure if he can be more than avg. as a sp in the majors, and Lee eventually becomes a good defense, great speed, contact hitting SS with little power. The other guys will have limited, if any, big league impact. Lee is also so far away from the majors that he could just become a flop.

      Any team in baseball would make that deal from the Cubs side.

      So how did that trade “kill” the Cubs? Not one of the players Tampa received would have had a major impact in Chicago in the next 2-3 years.

      • mmontice 4 years ago

        Not sure any team in the world would make that trade. A lot of metrics (and not all of them advanced) suggest he is a very similar pitcher to Aaron Harang in many facets, and it is very difficult to say every team would give up a similar group of players (let alone any players) for Aaron Harang.

      • There’s plenty of teams in baseball that wouldn’t made that trade from the Cubs side.

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        “Any team in baseball would make that deal from the Cubs side” is as serious an overstatement as “The Garza trade killed the Cubs for two or three years”

        the rays sold fairly high on an overrated starter in his arb years and got a good group of young cheap talent in exchange. the cubs weren’t hurt in any obvious way because most of the younger plays traded away were already blocked for the most part in chicago

        the cubs forgot to know what opportunity cost is, though, and have to hope garza takes his game to a higher level in the NL for the trade to have been worthwhile

  5. Guest 4 years ago

    I think the Cubs need to think about trading Dempster….to the Yanks for young players…maybe Nova and Gardner.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      see if they’ll throw in cano

    • xcal1br 4 years ago

      NO! He has been their most consistent starter and a clubhouse savior since he got here. Unless the return is astronomical, I say keep him and resign him if possible. Retire as a Cub then shift to the broadcast booth when Brenley takes over as manager. :)

      • Guest 4 years ago

        We need to free up as much salary as possible. Not just for next year but 2013–I believe when Matt Cain reaches FA. Trading Dempster works just because of what you’ve said–he’s the Cubs most consistent starter. Face it the team, not team’s manager, needs to go in a different direction. No way Brenly’s getting the manager gig to give up his broadcasting gig. He knows he’s got it good!!!

        • xcal1br 4 years ago

          Nah, I know Brenly won’t manage the Cubs. I’d hate to see it since he is a great color man. I think Dempster’s personality is perfect for that role too.

          I wasn’t suggesting we get rid of Quade. He’s great. I hope he continues the success he has had so far.

          Do you think Matt Cain is that good, really? I always thought he was pretty average. I haven’t checked his stats or anything, I’ve just always had that feeling of unfulfilled potential when I think of Cain. If he could be our legitimate ace, then I’m all for it!

          Who else is available in the next few years?

          • Guest 4 years ago

            Cain’s got #1 starter stuff. It’s just that well, when you’re behind Lincecum, well..nuff said. Cubs should go after him in 2013 if he’s an FA. There’s not much else on the pitching front as far as FA SP, especially next year. Unless Sabathia opts out, he and CJ Wilson–that’s pretty much it. And the Yankees, no way they’re letting CC go. Not with their pitching woes. Quade’s pretty much got the gig until his contract runs out.

          • xcal1br 4 years ago

            So, with Cain, we could potentially have a top of the rotation with Cain, Garza, Cashner. Not bad. Thanks for the info.

  6. randomkeys 4 years ago

    Dear Tim Dierkes,

    Please link to pages and not to searches. “Carlos Pena” is a common name for a player. There’s only ONE who you’re actually talking about, so link to him, not to a search result for the name (which delivers several results).

    Thank you.

    • Well my guess the Carlos pena he is talking about is the only one listed under Major League Players on the link he posted.  Ya big Dummy.

  7. i say byrd in right….campana in center…. jackson in left. trade soriano to dump salary …trade aramis to get a young arm. if you sign any player its jose reyes.  Move castro to 2…reyes to SS and barney at 3b.  I like colvin at first…love dempster and big z but we need some arms in the minors…love to get banueles from yankees or even better martin perez from rangers.  Hell be an ace one day…but hendry said no fire sale..i don’t agree i say scrap what you have and rebuild..through young pitching and bats…

  8.  well in short, i would i like to wish a very best of luck :)

  9. The Cubs should have just signed Harang then.

  10. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    no, he’s not comparable to 2007 aaron harang. 2008-2010 harang is the comparison

  11. Guest 4 years ago

    Given what? The fact that he’s pitching in a ballpark in San Diego where you could drive a semi through the outfield? Gotta love this talk about Garza…will it ever die?? Look the Cubs had to get more production out of their SP. Where were they gonna go exactly??? Trade even better prospects to Clev for an inconsistent Fausto Carmona or maybe they could have gotten Blanton from the Phillies. Gotta love the sabremetrics and their comparsions.

  12. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    …no, you’re not understanding. this isn’t a conversation about aaron harang. the guy’s point was that garza’s numbers compare to harang’s numbers from 2008-2010, and not to harang’s numbers from 2005-2007

  13. mmontice 4 years ago

    Exactly. Not sure whether it is legal to paste in links from other websites, but for reference, here is the main article from fan graphs comparing Garza to Harang.

    link to fangraphs.com

  14. jb226 4 years ago

    “Look the Cubs had to get more production out of their SP. ”

    Why? Because we were that close to being a playoff contender? Even if you believed that, starting pitching was not the Cubs’ problem — it was the bullpen (somewhat addressed by Wood, though the departure of Cashner also hurt it) and the anemic offense.

    They made two changes in the rotation: Silva out, Cashner in which we could have done anyway; and Gorzellany out, Garza in. On its face, it was an upgrade–I won’t fault Hendry for Garza’s poor performance so far–but it’s hardly lopsided. Gorz actually did well for the Cubs, and he was not only several million dollars cheaper but wouldn’t have cost at least two very strong prospects.

    The idea that the Cubs just had to run out and do something just doesn’t follow. They weren’t a starting pitcher away from a playoff contender much less a serious contender to win anything.

    Or look at it this way: Sometimes teams are wrong, but the reason teams make these player-for-prospect trades, particularly when the player is under control for multiple years yet, is because the team getting the player thinks they’re going to win now and the team getting the prospects think they’re going to help them more than the player or other possible trades/compensation down the road.

    Are the Cubs going to win now? If not, why did they trade prospects that an extremely talented scouting team, the Rays, thought would help more down the road than Garza? Isn’t “down the road” where the team should be looking to be their best if they’re not going to win now? Even if the Cubs didn’t use those players directly, what else could they have gotten for those prospects?

  15. Guest 4 years ago

    Look, the Cubs needed help and still need help with their SP. Wells fell off in performance last year. Cashner’s injury to his rotator cuff doesn’t sound good. Zambrano has lost velocity off his pitches. Silva’s gone…what does that say. Gorz shouldn’t have been traded. I get that, but to get Garza he didn’t need to be traded. The Cubs weren’t wrong. Archer’s unproven and most likely a RP. The SS they traded–where would they put him at 2b where Barney is ? At SS where Castro is? Forget about Fuld and Guyer. Garza did not have poor performance–one bad outing, the game against Colorado came down to one bad pitch (even Brenly says that) and one no decision where he pitched well….and that equates to poor performance!!! Everyone needs to stop comparing him to a guy who’s older, was injured most of last year, and pitches currently at Petco Park. The Cubs just don’t have enough on the farm….even with the trade to TB. And FA SP is scarce, now and in the future. Why? because all teams are locking up their pitching.

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