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How Much Could Cubs Add for 2022 If They Merely Duplicated What They Spent in 2021?

How Much Could Cubs Add for 2022 If They Merely Duplicated What They Spent in 2021?
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Michael’s recent post about how much money the Cubs saved on Trade Deadline — and how that huge chunk of money could/should go into the baseball operations budget — has me thinking about financial and other budgetary considerations for the year ahead. Just another way to think of what the cubs must have to spend this off season.

This is what the title asks for. I was simply curious about how much “room” the Cubs would have on their 2022 payroll if they had spent up to the level of the 2021 payroll. The reason I was curious wasn’t because I expected the Cubs to do exactly that, But instead, given last year’s opening day payroll is the bare minimum that can reasonably be expected by the Cubs in 2022, especially when you consider that revenue should be much better in 2022 than it was in 2021. .

Again, I’m not saying that’s how much the Cubs will add, because a lot will depend on the availability of certain goals, length of deals, deals for censored players, etc. I was just curious how much they could add on their 2022 payroll if the relatively modest 2021 salary schedule is the goal. Because my doubts were… a lot!

First, the opening day salary schedule for 2021. * Looking at the unofficial commitments and trade of Yo Darvish, the opening day salaries for the Cubs are down sharply from the few years before. Depending on your favorite source, you’ll see some slight discrepancy in Cubs’ field payroll for opening day, but it was about $155 million. (The Cubs haven’t been low since 2015, and in the years 2016 to 2020, the Cubs average salaries are around $200 million. Just for their value.)

Currently, with no further additions and an expected arbitration raise, the Cubs in the field payroll for 2022 will be around $65 million.

So, if the Cubs simply commit to enough new contracts for 2022 to raise the current projected payroll to the (low) 2021 level, The Cubs will still have $90 million to add to new commitments this season.

Sorry for shouting, but it’s just an amazing reminder of how resilient the Cubs are now Even if the payroll remains very low compared to recent years. There is really no short-term goal that should be outside the board of directors from a financial perspective. In the long run, you start to get into the question of how much 2024-2026 dollars you want to commit now in service of a “maybe” year like 2022, but that’s an entirely separate conversation we had this weekend.

Overall, though, there are no players the Cubs can’t afford at the moment. Spread $90 million (give or take) thoughtfully and you can really make some hay. The Cubs may not only be able to make a modest opponent in 2022, but they can probably “buy” a prospect or two if they play their cards right.


* (For our purposes here, I’m talking about payroll actually paid in the field, rather than a luxury tax number, which uses AAV and includes player benefits/insurance. We’re not looking to do a luxury tax computation today (who even knows what will happen to the luxury tax in CBA talks). We’re just looking at how much the Cubs can commit in their new 2022 dollars.)

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