NL Central Fall Preview Part IV – Cubs
If you only look at the 75-87 record for 2010, the Cubs look a lot like…well, the Cubs. To make matters worse, they don’t have a lot of flexibility going forward into 2011, because they are burdened with some horrific contracts. Alfonso Soriano ($18M), Carlos Zambrano ($17.875M), Kosuke Fukudome ($13.5M), Carlos Silva ($11.5M), Ryan Dempster ($13.5M), Aramis Ramirez ($14.6M), and Marlon Byrd ($5.5M) help push their committed payroll to around $100M before the roster is completely filled out. By opening day, the Cubs should be in the $135-140M range, and that’s a lot of cash for a team that I project to work hard to get to 76-86 next season. That payroll could include some short term fixes, but that wouldn’t seem to be the right approach for a team that really seems to be focusing on “next year”.
Fear not Cubs fans, because Fukudome, Silva, Ramirez, and Dempster can all come off the books for 2012. Zambrano is there for 2012, and you’re stuck with Soriano as the albatross that just keeps on giving forever it seems. Then again, just the thought of becoming relevant and maybe even competitive by 2012 should be enough to keep hope alive. By then, it’s possible that Adrian Gonzalez will be on the roster, and he’ll be putting up big numbers while locking down the defense at first base. How promising does 2012 look? Well, the Cubs could have as little as $44.5M committed in payroll going into the offseason leading into that year. That money should be committed to Soriano, Zambrano, Byrd, and maybe a buyout for Silva. That’s it. They could also still have some talented guys still in their arbitration years and older guys off the payroll, so they’ll have room to add and add in a big way. Maybe next year.
Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.