clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Very Early Look At The 2017 Cubs Payroll

The Cubs are likely going to have the biggest player payroll in club history next year.

MCT via Getty Images

In doing research for this article, I found quite a number of different figures for the Cubs’ 2016 payroll.

Two different sources — and — had the 2016 Cubs’ Opening Day payroll at $116 million.

Fangraphs said the payroll for the 25-man World Series roster was $147 million — that seems accurate, but doesn’t include players who weren’t on that roster.

Baseball Prospectus’ list shows the Cubs paid 34 different players $171 million in 2016. This includes guys like Edwin Jackson, Rex Brothers and Brendan Ryan, who never played at all for the team, as well as several who spent the entire season on the major-league disabled list.

The BP list seems to be the most accurate and complete. Will the Cubs wind up spending that much money in 2017? More, probably.

This Google spreadsheet, available via Cot’s Baseball Contracts, shows the Cubs with $126,952,381 in contract commitments for 2017 already -- without including any of the arb-eligible players, nor the pre-arb players who will likely be renewed at or near the mininum salary. That figure of nearly $127 million breaks down this way:

Jason Heyward: $28,166,167
Jon Lester: $25,000,000
Ben Zobrist: $16,500,000
John Lackey: $16,000,000
Miguel Montero: $14,000,000
Wade Davis: $10,000,000
Jon Jay: $8,000,000
Anthony Rizzo: $7,285,714
Brian Duensing: $2,000,000

So that $127 million figure is committed to just nine players.

There are four Cubs who are arbitration-eligible: Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.

Arrieta made $10.7 million in 2016. In his final year of arbitration he’s likely to make about $16 million.

Strop made $4.4 million in 2016. He’s also in his final year of arb eligibility. Given the current market he’s probably in line for about $8 million.

Rondon made $4.2 million in 2016. He has two more years of arb eligibility. He’s likely also in line for about $8 million.

Grimm made $1.275 million in 2016 and is in his first year of arb eligibility. My guess: about $4 million.

So right there you’ve added $36 million to the $127 million already committed, making a total of $163 million for just 13 players.

Koji Uehara is set (though not officially announced) to make $4.5 million, so that brings the total to over $167 million.

If the 11 other players on the Opening Day roster all made the new MLB minimum of $535,000, that would come to $5.885 million. Quite a number of these players, young veterans such as Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Kyle Hendricks, will surely get raises to more than the minimum.

So we’re looking at a Cubs Opening Day payroll of at least $172 million and perhaps as much as $5-$10 million more than that.

Thus the price of winning.