Drew Smyly could earn up to $41.5M over 3 years in Cubs contract

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — Left-hander Drew Smyly could earn up to $41.5 million over three years from his contract with the Chicago Cubs if he pitches 150 innings annually, and catcher Tucker Barnhart could raise earnings to $9.5 million under his two-year contract if he becomes a regular starter.

Smyly is guaranteed $19 million as part of a two-year contract that calls for salaries of $8 million this year and $8.5 million in 2023. The deal includes a $10 million mutual option for 2025 with a $2.5 million buyout.

His salaries for 2024 and 2025 could increase by up to $3 million based on innings in the previous season: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $750,000 apiece for 130 and 140, and $1 million for 150. He can earn annual performance bonuses for the same amounts at the same levels.

Smyly has a conditional right out of the contract after this season to become a free agent if he pitches at least 100 innings this year. The 33-year-old went 7-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 22 starts for Chicago last season.

Smyly joins a group of potential starters that includes Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon and Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs also have Justin Steele, Adrian Sampson and Keegan Thompson.

Barnhart was guaranteed $6.5 million, getting salaries of $3.25 million in each of the next two seasons.

His 2024 salary could increase by $1 million based on starts at catcher this year: $250,000 each for 91 and 101, and $500,000 for 111. Barnhart could also earn $1 million in performance bonuses annually for starts at catcher, with the same thresholds and amounts.

He has the right to opt out of the deal after the 2023 season and become a free agent.

Barnhart, who turns 32 on Jan. 7, is expected to back up Yan Gomes. Willson Contreras was the starting catcher for Chicago last season, but he signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract with St. Louis during free agency.

Barnhart returns to the NL Central after struggling in his only season with Detroit. He spent his first eight seasons with Cincinnati, winning Gold Gloves in 2017 and 2020.

He became the third Gold Glove winner to sign with the Cubs this offseason. All-Star shortstop Dansby Swanson, who won his first Gold Glove last season with Atlanta, signed a seven-year, $177 million contract. The Cubs also brought in Gold Glove-winning center fielder Cody Bellinger on a one-year, $17.5 million deal.

Chicago also agreed last month to a one-year, $2.8 million deal with right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger. He gets a $2 million salary this year as part of a deal that includes a $5 million mutual option for 2024 with an $800,000 buyout.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.