New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts joined WSCR's Mully and Hanley show this morning; listen to the audio here. Asked about payroll flexibility, Ricketts replied:
With respect to this season, there's still some flexibility in the payroll should there be something that comes up down the line that looks like a fit or a need.
The Cubs' payroll is already north of $140MM, but it appears that family ownership will allow for added flexibility. Over the offseason the Cubs added $26.7MM total for four free agents ($9.9MM in 2010 salaries). Raises for current players exceeded $14MM, led by Ryan Dempster's $4.5MM increase. On the flip side, money was saved by the departures of Milton Bradley, Aaron Miles, Neal Cotts, Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, Aaron Heilman, and Reed Johnson.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Cubs add a reliever this summer. The offense could be tricky to augment, as the Cubs are locked in with sizeable contracts aside from catcher and the middle infield.