The players’ union is concerned about the Cubs’ small payrolls, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. A source tells Wittenmyer that the union is worried about the impact of the Cubs’ spending patterns on markets for players. The Cubs had an Opening Day payroll of about $93MM in 2014, down from a high of $144MM in 2010.
The union being concerned about the Cubs’ payrolls does not mean it will take action to address them. Wittenmyer suggests that the only real precedent for intervention by MLB and the union to get the Cubs to increase payroll came in 2010, when the Marlins were forced to agree to spend their revenue sharing dollars on salaries and player development. The Cubs, a big-market team, pay into revenue sharing, which might insulate them from union action.
“Speaking generally, as one would expect, we monitor the spending of all Clubs on a regular basis, and if we have concerns we raise them with the Commissioner’s Office,” says the MLBPA’s Greg Bouris.
“We also understand the cyclical nature of the industry, but despite the ups and downs franchises face, we strongly believe that the best way to improve one’s bottom line is to invest in Major League talent.”
The Cubs have had four straight losing seasons and appear headed for a fifth. That losing streak corresponds with their drop in payroll. (There are also, however, many other factors in the team’s struggles, including the declines of most of its key players from before the streak of losing seasons began. And despite their recent losing, the Cubs have greatly strengthened their minor-league system.) Sources within the Cubs organization are unaware of any potential action by the union.