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2007 Chicago Cubs

Updated 12/07/2006

Full disclosure: I am a diehard Cubs fan.  Still, I think I'm capable of pulling together a Team Outlook for this bunch.


Jim Hendry's 2007 contract obligatons:

C - Michael Barrett - $3MM
C - Henry Blanco - $1.8MM
1B - Derrek Lee - $13MM
2B - Mark DeRosa - $4.33MM
SS - Cesar Izturis - $4.15MM
3B - Aramis Ramirez - $11MM
IF - Ryan Theriot - $0.38MM
LF - Matt Murton - $0.38MM
CF - Jacque Jones - $4MM
RF - Alfonso Soriano - $9MM
OF - Angel Pagan - $0.38MM

SP - Carlos Zambrano - $6.5MM
SP - Ted Lilly - $10MM
SP - Rich Hill - $0.38MM
SP -
SP - Wade Miller - $1.5MM
SP - Mark Prior - $3.65MM
SP - Sean Marshall - $0.38MM

RP - Ryan Dempster - $5MM
RP - Bob Howry - $4MM
RP - Scott Eyre - $3.5MM
RP - Will Ohman - $0.61MM
RP - Mike Wuertz - $0.38MM
RP - Kerry Wood - $1.75MM
RP - Roberto Novoa - $0.38MM
RP - Neal Cotts - $0.4MM

Buyouts:

RP - Kerry Wood - $3MM

Injured players:

RP - Glendon Rusch - $3.25MM

The Cubs have about $96MM locked up before raises, unless perhaps insurance covers Rusch's salary.  Also keep in mind that Miller can earn an additional $3.75MM in incentives and some of Soriano's bonus may need to be paid out in '07.  Zambrano should get decent money in arbitration, so a rough estimate is $102MM committed.  There have been rumors of the team taking payroll all the way to $120MM to field a winner in 2007.  That'd mean a lot of patchwork via free agency. Hey, it worked for the Marlins in '97.  Wow, that team had some crappy seasons by hitters now that I look at it. 

Mark DeRosa will handle second base now, so the infield's set. 

In the outfield, Hendry really just needs a center fielder.  Kenny Lofton is the only real viable option in free agency.  Otherwise Jones or Soriano will have to learn the position.  There's also been talk of adding Cliff Floyd as a platoon partner for Murton; I don't see the point. 

The rotation could probably use one more arm behind the front three of Zambrano, Lilly, and Hill.  Someone to bridge the gap between Hill and the fifth starter DL combo of Prior and Miller.  Gil Meche remains on the radar.  In-house longshot starting candidates include Dempster and Cotts.  The trade bait seems to be Jones, who apparently wants out of Chicago

A few of the pitchers I've listed will be squeezed out and sent to the minors or traded.  The Cubs have three lefties in the pen currently.


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