The Chicago Cubs hired Theo Epstein in October of 2011 to run their baseball operations. The Cubs had a lousy year in 2012, losing 101 games, but looking over the list of the highest paid players on the Chicago Cubs for the 2013 season, it's clear that Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are re-working the roster.
Seven of the ten highest paid players for the Chicago Cubs in 2012 are pitchers. Five of the seven pitchers were not with the Cubs in 2012. So Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are clearly emphasizing pitching for the 2013 season, and that is the best way to improve a team.
These are the ten highest paid players on the Chicago Cubs roster for the 2013 season. I'd be surprised if the Chicago Cubs do not win a lot more than 61 games this season.
The Chicago Cubs entire payroll for the 2013 season is $102 million, up 15.9% from last season's $88 million. The Cubs payroll this season is the sixth highest in the National League, and 13th highest in baseball.
Combined, the the ten highest paid Chicago Cubs players in 2013 listed below are making $83.2 million. That represents 81.5% of the Cubs entire payroll this season.
Highest paid players on the Chicago Cubs in 2013
1. Alfonso Soriano - $19 million
Alfonso Soriano is the highest paid player on the Chicago Cubs in 2013. Including a $1 million signing bonus, Soriano is making $19 million this season. He will make another $18 million in 2014.
The Chicago Cubs have certainly made Alfonso Soriano a very wealthy man. Looking over his stats as a Cubs player, Soriano has been vastly overpaid.
2. Edwin Jackson - $13 million
Including a $2 million signing bonus, starting pitcher Edwin Jackson is making $13 million in 2013. That makes him the second highest paid Chicago cubs player this year.
The Cubs signed Edwin Jackson as a free agent this winter, giving him a four-year, $52 million contract. Seems like a lot of money to me for a pitcher who has never won more than 14 games in a season, and has a career ERA of 4.40.
3. Matt Garza - $10.25 million
Starting pitcher Matt Garza will make $10.25 million this season. Garza will be a free agent in 2014, so he is pitching for a contract in 2013. Expect him to have a good to great season playing for the money.
4. Carlos Marmol - $9.8 million
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol will make $9.8 million in 2013. Marmol has struck out 671 batters in just 514.2 innings pitched in his career. That's 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Highly impressive. Marmol can also become a free agent in 2014.
5. Scott Feldman - $6 million
The Chicago Cubs signed pitcher Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6 million free agent contract for 2013. I'm not a Scott Feldman fan, but that's a sensible contract for a pitcher who has won 17 games in a season in the major leagues.
6. Starlin Castro - $5.857 million
Just 23 years old, shortstop Starlin Castro will make $5.875 million in 2013, including a $857,000 signing bonus. The Cubs have Castro locked up for sensible money through the 2019 season. He will make $5 million again in 2014, and then his salary will gradually increase each season until he is making $11 million in 2019.
7. Scott Baker - $5.5 million
Starting pitcher Scott Baker was signed to a one-year $5.5 million free agent contract over the winter. Baker missed all of 2012 after undergoing elbow surgery.
Signing Scott Baker was a bit of a risk for the Cubs, but has won 15 games in a season. His career ERA is 4.15. He will be pitching this season for another contract, and usually that is good news, but elbow problems can be tricky.
8. Carlos Villanueva - $5 million
Pitcher Carlos Villanueva signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, that will pay him $5 million in 2013. The Cubs have most of their payroll tied up with pitchers this year, as seven of their top ten highest paid players in 2013 are pitchers. In my opinion, that is the way to build a winning team.
9. Kyuji Fujikawa - $4.5 million
The Cubs signed Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million contract over the winter. So two of the Chicago Cubs ten highest paid players in 2013 are closers.
Not sure if the Cubs will trade one of their closers, or will try to shorten their games by having one of the closers be the eighth inning set-up man. I personally like the strategy of trying to shorten games with great pitchers in the eighth and ninth innings.
10. David DeJesus - $4.25 million
Outfielder David DeJesus is the 10th highest paid player on the Chicago Cubs roster for 2013. DeJesus is making $4.25 million this season. The Cubs have an option on David DeJesus for $6.5 million for the 2014 season, or they can buy him out for $1.5 million.