Two pitchers that played important roles for the Cubs down the stretch last year are under contract for next season and will report to Spring Training prepared to compete for a spot in the rotation.
Trevor Cahill re-signed with the Cubs on a one-year, $4.25 million contract. And LHP Clayton Richard avoided arbitration by inking a one-year, $2 million deal with the Cubs earlier this month.
Trevor Cahill was rather impressive pitching out of the Cubs’ pen over the last month of the season. After struggling with the Diamondbacks in 2014 and being released by both the Braves and Dodgers last season, the Cubs inked Cahill to a minor league contract in August.
In 11 appearances for the Cubs, Cahill was 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Cahill allowed four runs on eight hits with five walks and 22 strikeouts in 17 innings. Cahill applied the adjustments Chris Bosio suggested and increased his velocity.
Most thought Cahill would sign with another team that gave him a better opportunity to start. The Cubs have not guaranteed Cahill a starting job. He knows he has to win one in the spring and reportedly he left money on the table from other teams to return to the Cubs.
The Cubs picked up Clayton Richard from the Pirates on July 3 and he started the next day at Wrigley. Richard was able to settle in thanks to a pair of Kris Bryant home runs and beat the Nationals in his Cubs’ debut. Richard was healthy for the first time in three years and he put up good numbers with the Cubs.
Richard appeared in 23 games, three starts, and was 4-2 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Richard gave up 18 runs, all earned, on 47 hits with seven walks and 22 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings. In the three starts, Richard was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. And as a reliever, Richard posted a 2-2 record in 20 games with a 4.44 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.
Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard give the Cubs much-needed depth in the event of injuries and Joe Maddon options when the season starts if all goes as planned in Spring Training. While it’s possible Cahill and Richard could begin the year in a starting role, with the way the roster is currently constructed injuries would likely have to open a spot in the rotation for either pitcher.
Trevor Cahill’s one-year, $4.25 million contract includes performance bonuses based on games started and relief appearances.
Bonuses for Games Started
- $0.75 million for 18 starts
- $0.1 million for 21 starts
- $1.25 million for 24 starts
- $1.5 million for 27 starts
- $1.5 million for 29 starts
- $1.5 million for 31 starts
The Cubs structured Cahill’s contract to pay him $6.6 million on top of the $4.25 million base salary if he starts 31 games in 2016.
Cahill can earn additional money as a reliever. Cahill will be paid $100,000 for 60 appearances, $150,000 for pitching in 65 games and $200,000 if he makes 70 appearances in 2016. Cahill’s contract also calls for an additional $300,000 if he finishes 25 games.
Clayton Richard’s one-year, $2 million contract also includes performance bonuses based on games started and relief appearances.
Bonuses for Games Started
- $0.1 million for 10 starts
- $0.1 million for 15 starts
- $0.1 million for 20 starts
- $0.1 million for 25 starts
- $0.1 million for 30 starts
With 30 starts next season, Richard would be paid $500,000 on top of his $2 million base salary.
If Richard has the same role for the Cubs next season as last year, he can make an additional $100,000 each for 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 relief appearances.
Clayton Richard’s contract is structured in such a way he can earn more money next season as a swingman, which is the role he is expected to fill.