Cubs roster breakdown after adding Pederson, Williams


A recent loosening of the pursestrings by Cubs ownership has given team president Jed Hoyer the budget flexibility to join an industry flurry of player moves in the last few days, including $9.5 million of free agent signings in outfielder Joc Pederson and starting pitcher Trevor Williams.

How much more flexibility Hoyer has to add to payroll without dumping salary somewhere else bears watching, especially as the Cubs try to add at least one more major-league starting pitcher in the next week or so.

It may not be exactly Nolan Arenado-worthy for grabbing the baseball world’s attention. And whether the sum of the final parts will be worthy of grabbing the National League Central from the newly-ordained favorites in St. Louis is at least doubtful.

But the picture of the 2021 Opening Day Cubs is at least starting to become more clear after months of payroll cutting and waiting for markets to play out.

Adding Pederson ($7 million) and Williams ($2.5 million) puts 16 players under major-league contracts in 2021 for a total of $131.58 million — 18 at $133.46 million if non-roster invitees Shelby Miller and Matt Duffy make the 26-man roster.

That number goes up to $137.56 for 19 players if outfielder Ian Happ wins his arbitration case. Another $4 million or so for six pre-arbitration players, such as Nico Hoerner and Alec Mills, pushes the total just past $141 million before adding that desired pitcher and whatever else they might find a few bucks to go after in the final two weeks before spring training.

The only things that seems certain at this point about the roster they’ll take to camp is that it will look dramatically different — especially on the pitching side — than it did a year ago and likely will inspire a dramatically lower bar of expectations than at almost any time during the 2015-20 run of winning seasons that included five playoff appearances.

The Cubs exceeded the luxury-tax thresholds (which measure player salaries in annual value of contracts and include hefty benefits obligations) each of the last two seasons, including a 26-man payroll cost in 2020 (before salaries prorated) of more than $190 million in actual, non-AAV salaries.

Here’s what the 40-man roster (which has one open spot) — along with the two previously mentioned non-roster players — and 2021 payroll obligations look like on the eve of February (salary estimates in parentheses for players who have not yet agreed to terms):


RHP Kyle Hendricks $14 million

RHP Zach Davies $8.63 million

RHP Trevor Williams $2.5 million

RHP Adbert Alzolay (600k-700k)

RHP Alec Mills (700k-750k)

RHP Shelby Miller* $875,000*

RHP Kohl Stewart $700,000

RHP Tyson Miller ($600k-ish)

RHP Cory Abbott (minimum)

RHP Gray Fenter ($600k-700k)

LHP Brailyn Marquez (minimum)

LHP Justin Steele (minimum)

    *-non-roster (MLB split)

    Note: MLB minimum salary for 2021 is $570,500.


RHP Craig Kimbrel $16 million

RHP Dan Winkler $900,000

LHP Kyle Ryan $800,000

RHP Jonathan Holder $750,000

RHP Duane Underwood ($600k+)

RHP Rowan Wick ($600k+)

LHP Brad Wieck ($600k+)

RHP Jason Adam ($600k+)

RHP Dillon Maples ($600k+)

RHP James Norwood ($600k-ish)

RHP Manny Rodriguez (minimum)

RHP Robert Stock ($600k-ish)

RHP Keegan Thompson (minimum)


Willson Contreras $6.65 million

Austin Romine $1.5 million

Miguel Amaya (minimum)


3B Kris Bryant $19.5 million

1B Anthony Rizzo $16.5 million

SS Javy Baez $11.65 million

2B/ETC David Bote $1 million

2B Nico Hoerner ($650k-$800k)

IF Matt Duffy* $1 million*

2B/SS Ildemaro Vargas ($600k-ish)

2B/3B Max Schrock ($580k-$650k)

IF Christopher Morel (minimum)

    *-non-roster (MLB split)


RF Jason Heyward $23.5 million

LF Joc Pederson $7 million

CF Ian Happ ($3.25m or 4.1m)**

OF Phillip Ervin ($600k-ish)

**(Pending arbitration hearing)

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