The Rundown: Luxury Tax Implications, Wrigley Mansion Sold, Javy Báez Baseball Camp, Rizzo Swims With Sharks

No sense talking about starting pitching or Lorenzo Cain rumors anymore but do you sense a pattern this offseason? I’m not talking about the propensity for front offices to stick to three-year commitments — and I’ll have more on that in a moment — I am just talking about Cubs rumors in general.

It seems there is a paradigm of sorts in which a rumor breaks and then gets a about a week of insane press coverage and analysis before dying on the vine. We’ve seen it with Cain, Alex Cobb, Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, and Jake Arrieta. Simply put, we are simply beating every real or fabricated story to death due to the dearth of news and rumors.

Dave Schoenfield recently wrote a great article about the lack of player movement this winter and one theory he posited gave me a light bulb moment of my own. In breaking down future CBA limits on spending, Schoenfield mentioned Collective Bargaining Tax ceilings through the life of the current agreement. Perhaps the insistence of front offices across baseball to keep offers and signings limited to three year deals is tied to those thresholds.

  • 2018: $197 million
  • 2019: $206 million
  • 2020: $208 million
  • 2021: $210 million

Notice the jump from this year to next and the subsequent smaller increases over the remaining two years of the current agreement. If the CBT penalties allow only a $2 million buffer in each of 2018 and ’19, some teams may find themselves perilously close to or over baseball’s financial DMZ. When you consider that many teams are planning their 2018-19 budgets based on next year’s free agent class, it’s easy to see the reluctance to go beyond 2020 in future salary commitments. Front offices must consider the penalties involved with eclipsing those CBT limitations when acquiring players this year. Further, those small soft cap increases will hurt small and mid-market teams who simply can’t afford the strict CBT penalties for repeat offenders.

A club that exceeds the threshold in any single year pays a 20 percent tax on all overages. The penalties become more severe each consecutive season a team goes over. For a third-time overage, the penalty equates to a 50 percent tax, including an extra 42.5 percent hit if the team payroll is more than $40 million above the limit for that year. Teams that are $40 million over also see their highest draft pick moved back 10 spots.

The good news? It seems the Cubs are appropriately prepared for those limitations and have successfully navigated the limitations of the CBT to this point, despite rumors to the contrary.

Cubs News & Notes

Backup catcher Rene Rivera signed a one-year deal to play for the Angels.

Javier Báez will host his second annual youth baseball camp this July at Elk Grove High School. Participants will learn fundamental baseball skills, pick up some cool swag, and get to meet and interact with Baez. The cost this year is $149, and registration and more information is available at

SB Nation gives the Lorenzo Cain/Cubs rumors a failing grade because, as Evan explained last week, it just doesn’t make very much sense.

The historic Wrigley Mansion on Lakeview Avenue in in Lincoln Park has reportedly been sold. The mansion, built in 1896 and purchased by the Wrigleys in 1911, was valued at $9.5 million ahead of a 2016 foreclosure, and subsequently listed for $4.9 million. The building is truly breathtaking but is said to be suffering from neglect. There is no truth to the rumor that David Ross bought it and renamed it Bryzzo House to start a fraternity for current and retired Cubs players.

Kris Bryant is listed as one of 10 arbitration-eligible players who may receive a contract extension this offseason. That seems unlikely, as Bryant would likely be seeking a deal in excess of $200 milliion dollars. Kyle Hendricks might be a candidate as well, and that may actually be a headlining topic for one of our other baseball-savvy writers here at Cubs Insider.

Anthony Rizzo took a pre-spring training vacation in the Bahamas so he could swim with some sharks.

Tuesday Stove

With arbitration upon us, Jeff Todd of MLBTR looks at previous record-breaking mid-arb extensions. Last week Todd broke down the best pre-arb extensions.

Yesterday I mentioned that Kyle Schwarber was in the best shape of his life. Noah Syndergaard joined that elite, self-described club this morning.

The Yankees have received phone calls from some clubs regarding the availability of Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar, according to Bryan Hoch of

The Nationals are interested in free agent pitcher Lance Lynn.

Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski is leery of being fleeced by Scott Boras again. The super-agent represents J.D. Martinez and previously delivered Prince Fielder to the Tigers on a nine-year $214M contract when Dombrowski called the shots in Detroit.

The Sporting News looks at 10 players who are likely to regress in 2018. Spoiler alert: this isn’t going to help Arrieta in his contract negotiations.

The chances of a successful conversion from infield to outfield are pretty slim but Dee Gordon shouldn’t find it too difficult. Frankly I’m surprised the article didn’t mention Ian Happ of the Cubs, perhaps because he accomplished this as a minor league player.

I was watching a bio of the 1971-75 Oakland A’s while writing this and I was surprised to learn during my follow-up research and fact-checking that the use of “tater” to describe a home run was first coined by Reggie Jackson.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Talk It Over by Grayson Hugh. As promised, unappealing one-hit-wonder videos will be the norm until the Hot Stove heats up. Sorry, the Rene Rivera signing doesn’t count.

Back to top button