Budget-Conscious Cubs ‘Don’t Appear to Be Real Contender’ for Jordan Montgomery

The Cubs are nudging right up against the first luxury tax penalty threshold and are almost certain to go over unless they make moves to trim salary, but it sounds like they’re treating $237 million as a soft cap for now. At least that’s the indication Sahadev Sharma has gotten, writing that the front office remains “budget conscious” even as numerous roster upgrades are still available. And while that’s not novel in and of itself, there’s a sense that the Cubs are content despite a few recent injuries.

That means they “don’t appear to be real players for [Jordan Montgomery‘s] services” and would probably have to get a big discount on J.D. Davis to make something work. Davis would not be a defensive upgrade at third base and his power isn’t on par with Patrick Wisdom or Christopher Morel, but the former Giant walks a little more and strikes out a little less to go along with more even platoon splits. His $6.9 million salary might have been a problem, but it’s not guaranteed because it was earned via an arbitration win (more on that in link above).

As such, teams knew they’d be able to get Davis at a lower rate once the Giants inevitably moved on from him after failing to work out a trade. Given the Cubs’ other options at the position, it’s hard to see them offering a better landing spot for Davis in terms of either money or playing time than he should be able to find elsewhere.

Back to Montgomery, who has seemed like a really good fit for a long time with a Cubs team that may need a little more rotation help now that Jameson Taillon‘s status for the start of the season is in flux. The rub here is that the former Rangers lefty is reportedly opposed to anything resembling a pillow deal, which pretty much rules the Cubs out. Jed Hoyer isn’t going to offer a mint to create a rotation with four lefties, especially when he’s already got plenty of depth.

Javier Assad and Hayden Wesneski are more than capable of standing in for Taillon for what should be a limited number of starts at worst, plus they’ve got Drew Smyly there as well. Cade Horton could bang down the door to the big leagues at some point this season as well, which is surely something Hoyer is weighing as he thinks about whether and whom to add.

The big takeaway here is that it sounds like the front office has been given a budget of maybe $240 million or below for the time being. While that could increase during the season if the Cubs play well, Hoyer is probably loath to spend more right now for fear of further handcuffing himself financially. Again, I know that comes across as a solid report from Captain Obvious to many of you.

But hey, Hoyer has surprised us more than once this offseason and might have another trick up his sleeve. I’m not saying I think something big will happen, just that I’ll never say never.

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