David Bote has signed a five-year extension with the Cubs through 2024, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein announced Wednesday. Bote's extension also includes two club options for 2025 and '26.
A source told MLB.com that Bote's extension will be worth approximately $15 million. The club has not confirmed the terms of the deal.
The five years of the extension cover Bote's remaining pre-arbitration and arbitration years. If the Cubs pick up his two options, that would cover the infielder's first two seasons of free agency. Bote, who turns 26 on Sunday, would not have become a free agent until after the 2024 season.
The extension is a feel-good story for Bote, who was part of Epstein’s first Draft class with the Cubs in 2012. Bote was cut from Liberty University’s baseball team as a walk-on that year and transferred to Neosho County Community College. The Cubs saw enough potential to draft him in the 18th round, and after six years in the Minors, Bote carved out a role for himself on a playoff team.
“I’m humbled and gracious by this, and super excited to be a part of the Cubs family for a long time,” Bote said. “Nothing but gratitude toward them, being in their first Draft class in 2012. Anybody who’s followed my career closely knows what kind of a special moment this is. Just the transactions throughout the Minor Leagues, the grind.”
Bote will still make his previously agreed upon $561,500 salary for 2019, but the extension gives him financial security and more money than he would otherwise have made up front. The deal also gives the Cubs cost certainty moving forward and should not hamper the club’s ability to lock up its bigger stars.
The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales reports that Bote will earn a $50,000 signing bonus and salaries over the next five years of $950,000, $1 million, $2.5 million, $4 million and $5.5 million. The 2025 option is reportedly worth $7 million with a $1 million buyout, and the ‘26 option is worth $7.6 million with a $500,000 buyout, meaning the deal could reach $28.6 million over seven years before factoring in any incentives.
Bote is 4-for-11 with a double through his first four games of 2019. He hit .239/.319/.408 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 74 games for the Cubs as a rookie last season, playing mainly third base and second base. However, the Cubs believe he can grow into an even more productive hitter, as illustrated by his 93.5 mph average exit velocity last season, which ranked sixth among hitters with at least 100 batted ball events.
“You’re talking plus defense, and the ball just absolutely jumps off this guy’s bat,” Epstein said. “It’s a real workable swing, and he’s already showing he can make some adjustments with it. The contract works very well for us if he just stays in the role that he’s in now, and if he exceeds it, it could represent some value for us. The most important thing about it is it gives him really nice security in his career, and he can focus on baseball games.”
Bote provided one of Chicago's more memorable moments of 2018, when he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Nationals on Aug. 12 with the Cubs trailing, 3-0, and down to their final strike in the ninth inning.