The Chicago Cubs came up just short of making the playoffs, and now will be tasked with making some tough decisions on which players to bring back for next season.
While some of those choices will be in their hands, still others will get to make that decision themselves, with player options and opt-outs present in the contracts of several key players.
Here is a breakdown of the players from the 2023 Cubs that could find themselves on the free agent market after the World Series ends.
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Bellinger underwent a career renaissance with the Cubs, with 26 home runs, 97 RBI’s and 20 stolen bases this season. He slashed .307/.356/.525, and came close to recapturing the form that he displayed during the best years of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bellinger has a mutual option on his contract for next season, but he is expected to hit free agency in pursuit of a massive payday.
Boxberger dealt with injuries for most of the season, appearing in 22 games for the Cubs. He posted a 4.95 ERA, with 17 strikeouts in 20 innings of work.
He has a mutual option on his contract for the 2024 season. The Cubs could exercise an $800,000 buyout on the deal, or if they opt to keep him, he would be set to earn $5 million.
After being acquired from the Nationals, Candelario hit six home runs and drove in 17 RBI’s for the Cubs in 41 games. He slashed .234/.318/.445 for the North Siders.
Candelario is set to become a free agent after making $5 million during the 2023 season.
Fulmer appeared in 58 games for the Cubs, with a 3-5 record and a 4.42 ERA. He struck out 65 batters in 57 innings of work.
Fulmer had signed a one-year deal with the Cubs for the 2023 season, earning $4 million.
In 116 games with the Cubs, Gomes hit 10 home runs and drove in 63 RBI’s, slashing .267/.315/.408 for the North Siders.
The Cubs hold a club option for Gomes for the 2024 season. A buyout would cost the team $1 million, or they could choose to pay him $6 million for the 2024 campaign.
After coming back from a capsular tear in his right shoulder, Hendricks started 24 games for the Cubs, with a 6-8 record and a 3.74 ERA. He threw 137 innings, with a WHIP of 1.20 and a 3.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio, his best since the 2020 season.
The Cubs hold a club option for Hendricks, with a $1.5 million buyout available. If they keep Hendricks, he would stand to make $16 million.
Smyly triggered an opt-out clause in his contract by pitching over 100 innings during the 2023 season. He posted a record of 11-11 with a 5.00 ERA in 41 total appearances, including 23 starts.
If Smyly chooses to remain with the Cubs, he would earn $10.5 million next season. He also has a mutual option on his contract for the 2025 season, with a $2.5 million buyout available for the Cubs.
Stroman got off to a stellar start with the Cubs in 2023, but injuries and control struggles led to a modest 10-9 record and 3.95 ERA in 27 total appearances for the North Siders.
While it had seemed a foregone conclusion Stroman would opt out, it’s far less certain now, with the Cubs on the hook for $21 million for next season if the hurler decides to stay.