Cubs, Bote agree to 5-year deal through '24

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Thursday, April 4, 2019

ATLANTA -- Chicago Cubs infielder David Bote, who burst onto the national scene with a walk-off grand slam last season on Sunday Night Baseball, has been rewarded with a new, five-year deal through the 2024 season.

Bote, 25, will make $15 million guaranteed over the course of the contract, which begins in 2020. The Cubs hold team options of $7 million for 2025 and $7.6 million for 2026, with a buyout of $1 million, that could increase the value of the deal to $28.6 million if exercised, a source told ESPN.

"David is somebody who has worked extremely hard to be in this position," Cubs president Theo Epstein said Wednesday. "Going forward, we know he's going to work as hard as anyone in the game."

Bote is a rarity on the Cubs in that he was a low-round draft pick who has made it. He has been in the organization since 2012, when he was taken in the 18th round. After bouncing around the minors for almost seven years, he finally made it to the big leagues last season.

"It's a crazy, long story," Bote said with a smile. "Just super humbled and grateful."

His August grand slam, with the Cubs trailing the Washington Nationals 3-0, made him an instant folk hero in Chicago; but he wasn't a one-hit wonder. He ended the season with the third-highest exit velocity in all of baseball, though he faded some down the stretch with a .239 average and six home runs in 184 at-bats.

The Cubs could be getting a steal, as Bote will be paid the going rate for a backup player. If he turns into something more -- he already is a defensive whiz -- the team will have some cost certainty for a potential starter on their hands.

Epstein indicated Bote's play right now is the "floor" based on his talent.

"With how hard he hits the ball and his desire to learn and make adjustments and his work ethic, there's a significant chance he raises the floor and takes on a greater role in the future," Epstein said.

With a wife and two kids at home, Bote gets security and peace of mind, knowing he'll be with the Cubs for at least the next half-decade.

"They haven't done anything like this [pre-arbitration deal] with anyone else," Bote said. "They've seen the work that I put in. It doesn't stop now."

As Epstein added, "It's a really nice story. Someone with his background and hard work gets rewarded."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.