Cubs Agree to $15M Deal with David Bote Through 2024

Wow, looks like there are a few acts still taking the stage at Extenstion-Fest 2019. A week after extending Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs have agreed to terms with 2018 late-inning hero David Bote. The new contract is for five years with two club options, so it could run through 2026 and Bote’s age-32 season.

Exact terms of the deal are unknown, but ESPN’s Jesse Rogers is reporting that it’s for $15 million over five years beginning next season. Theo Epstein said Bote was the one who initiated the talks, so it’s clear the utility infielder wanted to remain with the Cubs long-term.

Because he was already under club control through 2024, this isn’t really an extension as much as it provides Bote with security and eliminates the need for arbitration. No word yet on the value of the options or any potential escalators, but it’s probably safe assume around $5-6 million. Seems like a good deal all the way around.

While Bote had been mentioned in offseason trade rumors, this move shows that the Cubs have faith in him as part of the team moving forward. He’ll have a hard time carving out a regular role this season, but that will change in the future with Ben Zobrist‘s contract ending after this season and Daniel Descalso signed only through next year.

The front office is really high on Bote, who has emerged as a quiet leader and has set an example with his work ethic. After struggling once pitchers got the book on him last year and started beating him with high heat, Bote has made adjustments to his hand position to better catch up. Little things like that don’t go unnoticed.

It’s possible that this portends future moves with middle infielders, specifically Addison Russell. Set to return next month at the conclusion of his 40-game domestic violence suspension, Russell would presumably take over at short and push Javy Báez to second base. That would in turn leave far fewer opportunities for Bote, though this extension seems to indicate the Cubs want him out there as much as possible.

We’ll know more about that later, so let’s just focus on #EveryBoteIn for now.

Update: The details of the new deal are out. Bote will receive a $50,000 signing bonus and his salary will increase over time, from $950,000 in 2020 to $5.5 million in 2024. The Clubs options are for $7 million in 2025 ($1M buyout) and $7.6 million ($500K buyout) in 2026. Mark Gonzales also reports that there are “plenty of incentives.

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Corey Freedman

Corey is a former MLB front office intern turned professional Cubs fan. After spending several years working for multiple MLB teams, he decided it was time to turn baseball back into a passion rather than a career. In between making content for Cubs Insider and being a professional Instagrammer, you can find him in Section 220, blissfully enjoying the season tickets he and his father spent 10 years on the waiting list for.

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10 Comments

  1. Yikes. Javy, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras and Schwarber are still unsigned and they’re tossing cash at a pre-arb dude who hasn’t proven he can make offensive adjustments? Not a great sign for this core.

    1. Bote approached them, and $15M over 5 years is not in any way going to impact what they can or will do with any of the more integral core players.

      1. It’s still mostly risk for them: they probably can’t send him down now and he’s untradeable if he’s not able to adjust to the high heat. If he turns into the second coming of Zobrist it’s a great move, but if he turns into a pumpkin it’s $15m of dead money.

        1. If it gives them the confidence to do something like flip Russell to the Yankees for a member of their super bullpen, I’ll shut up though.

        2. It’s such a small amount of money, and he’s clearly a starting caliber player, good defender, w/ some pop. It’s a low risk investment for a guy that might yield big results (if he breaks out). And Zobrist is gone after this year, so Cubs needed someone to replace him.

  2. Bote is the smartest man on the planet.

    18th round pick going nowhere in the minors before a couple good seasons. Makes the majors and has a 93 OPS+ and is expected to be sent down when Russell comes back, Went to Theo and got locked in for 15M.

    1. On the other hand, he could be cutting out massive pay increases if the bat speed, work ethic, clutch and leadership tendencies shown keep improving. I think he has a lot of Josh Donaldson in that bat with the ability to play 3B/2B. Serious value to a team.

  3. I think the key is what Corey mentioned … what this precludes. Cubs desperately need BP help, now they can trade Russell or Happ or (gulp) Hoener for said help. I think it also leverages against the fact that KB will not sign before his free agency unless it’s $$$$.

  4. Congrats to David on the contract, and the Cubs seeing Bote as an individual who realizes God has blessed him and that he wishes to focus on being a team player first and foremost rather than just fcentering on himself.
    Rizzo, several years back, too signed a life-changing contract probably realizing too just how he had been blessed by dealing with his bout with cancer.
    These are guys who understand what life is about, and that being a team player is far more valuable than seeking personal glory through stats accumulation.
    Bote, like Rizzo, can now focus on baseball free of concern as to where his next paycheck will come from.
    Bote has his priorities in order unlike many others.

    He understands what matters; and his approaching the Cubs on this shows that he knows what makes for good baseball.

    Yes, he may be criticized for passing potential big bucks down the road; but, then again, there are no guarantees for that.
    And now he has what he needs to develop professionally with his skills,
    and also focus on what’s truly important in life.

    Smart guy who understands that the Lord has blessed him and isn’t allowing all of this get to his head.

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