It feels like the Cubs waited until the eleventh hour relative to the rest of the league, but Friday evening we’ve received some clarity with their three player options.
The Cubs are expected to exercise Anthony Rizzo‘s $16.5 million club option for 2021, the only option the team will pick-up. Jon Lester‘s $25 million option was declined (he’ll receive a $10 million buyout), while Daniel Descalso, whose $3.5 million contract will be declined (per Jesse Rogers at ESPN), will receive a $1 million buyout.
Even though there was some speculation the Cubs might decline Rizzo’s option in favor of a reworked, back-loaded contract extension, the decisions announced today were straightforward and expected. Descalso will seek a minors deal with another organization, and the Cubs are expected to pursue a reunion with Lester on a short-term deal at a fraction of his option cost.
In additional roster news, the Cubs claimed infielder Max Schrock off waivers from the Cardinals today, optioning left-handed pitcher Rex Brothers to Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Schrock, 26, is a bit of a utility player with a high-contact, low strikeout rate approach in his minors career. With plenty of current space on their 40-man roster, and a limited payroll, Schrock was certainly worth a flier.
Free agency officially begins November 1.
(Note: The $11 million total buyouts will not impact the Cubs’ 2021 Luxury Tax figures.)
Photo Credit: Matt Marton, Associated Press
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