Since the money will be needed in the short term the best you can do with it is put it in a low interest CD or something similar. Your looking at 1-2% at best. Depending on the current tax rate the Cubs pay, they may be better of paying the bonus and decreasing their taxes for this year.
That being said, I actually don't doubt the bonus was requested by Edwin's team, especially if it's payable this tax year. I do not believe anything other than the total contract value won this deal, however.
We have a historically low payroll obligation and can absorb a bit more this year, so take it and free up space in future years.
It's short term money, investing it in more risky asset classes isn't something you should do, because there isn't enough time to overcome any losses that
might occur. Plus if you paying federal corporate taxes plus Illinois your looking at upwards of 30-40%. Tough to beat that in the market.
They could certainly put the money back into Wrigleyville or Wrigley itself and do the same thing.
I can explain it: His lower salary means that he can be more valuable in a future trade to a contending team if we: A) No longer have a place for him. B) Suck super hard and are trying to trade one or two of our good SP or C) He starts to suck/gets hurt and we want to be rid of him.
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I can think of a few reasons why the paying up front might be a benefit in this case, not as a general rule
1) It might have been a demand from Jackson either to sign to begin with and/or not get a NTC
2) It may have reduced the overall value of the contract (ie pay him 8 now versus 9 spread out over time)
The front office would seem to prefer those benefits to the small amount of interest Ricketts could otherwise accrue.
You can also use the money you saved, with interest, to pick up his salary and make him more tradeable.
As long as MLB doesn't have literal cap room that you can't carry over, this line of thinking will remain incorrect.