The Cubs don't have any options to worry about for 2010, aside from manager Lou Piniella. But here are a few situations they'll face within the next few years:
- 2010 is the final year of Derrek Lee's contract, which pays $13MM annually. His heir apparent might be Micah Hoffpauir, who owns a .326/.385/.546 big league line but has just 156 plate appearances. Maybe Hoffpauir is the next Luke Scott, an older rookie who had a monstrous half-season in '06 and then settled in as a useful bat.
- Lefty starter Ted Lilly is also signed through 2010. This was one of the best signings of the 2006-07 offseason, and there were some bad ones. Lilly made 34 starts in each of his first two seasons for the Cubs and is off to a fine start this year. Do the Cubs try to extend him, knowing that he'll turn 35 in January of 2011? It's probably too early to ask.
- Rich Harden is a free agent after the 2009 season. The 27 year-old has logged 27 starts in his Cubs career, surpassing expectations. He's earning $7MM this year and is off to a so-so start due to poor control and a high home run rate. Will some team throw a silly contract at him if he makes 30 starts this year?
- Kevin Gregg's contract is up after '09. As expected, he's walked a ton of guys and been generally uninspiring. Presumably the Cubs will let him leave and promote Carlos Marmol to closer.