From Sale (5 yrs/$145MM) and deGrom (5 yrs/$137.5MM) to Bogaerts (6 yrs/$120MM) and Arenado (8 yrs/$260MM), extension season is at it’s peak right now. Add David Bote’s name to the mix as he signed a 5 year contract extension worth $15.003MM with the Cubs that takes him through the 2024 season and also contains a pair of club options, valued at $7 million and $7.6 million. Let’s take a look at one of the most unheralded players of this year’s Contract Extension Extravaganza.
David Bote was an 18th round draft pick in 2012 from Neosho County Community College in Chanute, KS, taken 554th overall by the Cubs. He went on to hit .263/.350/.411 in parts of seven minor league seasons and was called up last year by Chicago. Bote appeared in 74 games and hit .239/.319/.408 with 6 home runs, 33 runs driven in and 23 runs scored. He managed 1 WAR as well as a fringy 95 wRC+ that is supported by some strong metrics; he was willing to take a walk (9 BB%) and hit the ball hard, ranking 6th out of 390 hitters (minimum of 100 batted ball events) in Average Exit Velocity and 54th out of those same 390 qualified hitters in Brls/BBE% (Barrels per Batted Ball Event, with barrels being described as “batted-ball events whose comparable hit types, in terms of exit velocity and launch angle, have led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage”). He also sports a good glove, posting a combined +3 DRS between time spent at first base, second base, third base, shortstop and left field.
David Bote has never ranked among the Cubs’ top prospects, but with his solid performances in the minor leagues since 2015, he has been on most prospect and minor league enthusiasts’ radars. In a chat held by Baseball Prospectus’ Wilson Karaman, he noted that Bote “seems like a solid sum-of-his-parts player” and “does everything reasonably well”. He has added some loft to his swing as well, adhering to today’s Launch Angle Revolution.
David Bote may just be a slightly better version of current Chicago Cub Ian Happ. Happ also plays multiple positions, but where Bote has looked solid at multiple positions, Happ looks like a subpar defender in the outfield and the infield and has much more concerning contact issues. If 1 WAR in today’s baseball market goes for about $8MM to $8.5MM, that means the Cubs will come out just fine in this deal if Bote puts up about 2 WAR over the next five seasons, which is an average of .4 WAR per season. For instance, ZiPS projects Bote to accrue 4.9 WAR from 2019 through 2021 alone. As we hardly ever see role players sign five year contract extensions (let alone three or four years), this contract is likely to set precedent for these types of ballplayers that are looking to cash in on some financial security.
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