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Cubs, Brad Brach restructure contract

The reliever still has a two-year deal, but it’s complicated.

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This Media Day photo is the only one of Brad Brach in a Cubs uniform so far
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Just after I published another update on the Cubs’ 2019 payroll and luxury tax situation this morning, there will have to be yet another update, because the team and reliever Brad Brach have restructured his deal, per Patrick Mooney at The Athletic:

The Cubs restructured Brach’s contract after the standard medical review, sources told The Athletic, setting this year’s base salary at $1.65 million with roster bonuses tied to his time on the active 25-man roster. One day is worth $350,000 – and there is the potential to earn $500,000 more if he is active for 150 days this season.

The 2020 club option is valued at $5 million or a $100,000 buyout, according to sources familiar with Brach’s deal, while next year’s player option is filed at $1.35 million.

So, the way I read this, if Brach is on the roster for (basically) all year in 2019, he’ll get $2.5 million. For less than 150 rostered days in 2019, he’ll get $2 million.

Then, he will get at least $1.35 million next year, because even if the Cubs pay him the $100,000 buyout, he would seem likely to take the player option for the $1.35 million. If the Cubs exercise the team option, the entire contract would be worth up to $7 million.

The reason for this?

“Everything’s fine,” Brach said Monday at the Sloan Park complex. “I had just a little bit of a viral infection. It was just kind of bad timing. Just kind of one of those things. When I was doing my physical, it came up, so it was adjusted from there.”

This likely explains why we haven’t seen Brach in a game yet.

The way I read this, that reduces the 2019 luxury-tax hit, but honestly I’m not 100 percent certain by how much. This morning’s article had his tax hit at $4.35 million, but that was based on the previous deal which guaranteed him that much money. Based on that it would appear the tax hit is only $1.75 million, because that ($1.65 million this year plus $100,000 in 2020) is all he is guaranteed.

That could increase, I suppose, if he makes this year’s roster bonuses. But for now, it appears the Cubs have saved about $2 million in salary and possibly $2.5 million on the tax ledger.

We hope to see Brach in a baseball game soon.