Contract Details on New Cubs Reliever David Phelps
As reported earlier, the Cubs have acquired 32-year-old right-handed reliever David Phelps and cash considerations from the Blue Jays in exchange for Double-A righty Thomas Hatch. Phelps is under contract for $2.5 million in 2019, so his prorated salary for the remainder of the season will cost the Cubs about $880,000 in cash and luxury cap space (some of which will be offset) .
Phelps also has a 2020 club option with different values depending on the number of games he appears in. Specifically, that option is worth $1 million if he fails to appear in more than 30 games, then escalates to $3 million with 30-39 appearances and $5 million with 40-49 appearances.
Thus far, Phelps has appeared in 17 games for the Blue Jays after missing the early part of the season and all of 2018 following elbow reconstruction. He would have to pitch really well in order to earn more than 13 appearances in the Cubs’ final 57 games, and 23 appearances seems highly unlikely. Thus, the Cubs can likely keep Phelps around in 2020 on the cheap if he works out.