This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
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Now, Tom Ricketts’s claims that the Cubs have no money are nonsense. The Cubs printed money when they were terrible, for crying out loud. It’s fair, though, to say that the two top-tier free agents on the market were awkward fits for a team set in the infield, and with both young players it likes and a very difficult contract in the outfield. The Cubs’ luxury-tax payroll also shoots up this year, as raises for Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kyle Hendricks kick in. Re-signing Cole Hamels helped push the Cubs, per Cot’s, nearly $20 million over the tax threshold, and there’s a strong chance the Cubs will live above that number for the next few seasons. Both 'the Cubs have plenty of money' and 'the penalties for going over the tax threshold are strong disincentives to do that' can be true."