Since I'm taking a snowday from work, I'm now hopped up on coffee and bored. So I took a few moments to scratch out the current '06 salary. This is not perfect, but should get us to a rough conclusion of where the Cubs payroll stands.
12 man Pitching Staff = roughly $44M
Wood $10.5M, Maddux, $8M, Z $3.76 (may be due a raise thru arb), Prior $3.55M, Rusch $3M, Demp $5M, Eyre $3M, Howry $4M, Williamson $2M, Williams/Wuertz/Ohman (around lig min) approx. $1M total. So barring the cubs acquiring another arm and dropping one of the young guys, this should be a close approximation.
12 position players (assumes the Klown & Hairy Jerry stay) = roughly $38M
Ramirez $8.25, Lee $8M, Pierre $5M (guestimate), Barrett $4M, Walker $2.5M, Hairy $2M (guestimate), Patterson $2.5M (guestimate), Blanco $1.3M, Neifi $2.5M, Mabry $1M, Cedeno/Murton (around lig min) $700K total
All the talk has been that the '05 payroll was around $100M including the Sosa money although ESPN had the Cubs 8th in the ML last year at approx $87M. So where are they at? Well I'll tell ya, with one roster spot open on the 25 man and a current payroll of approx $82M. That gives Hendry $5M plus maybe a modest increase in total payroll (via using additional bleacher seat revenue, etc.) of, let's say, $3M. 8M George Washingtons plus a significant desire to rid the team of the Klown, giving JH an estimated $2.5M more to play with, should put Hendry in a decent financial position to continue to work the roster makeover. And he still has several options, all of which, IMO, contain eliminating Corey. Without speculating on the targets of Hendry's desire, I see the likely options as follows...
1) Acquire two OFs (one starting RF and one backup corner OF) and use Hairy as an IF/CF sub.
2) Acquire one starting RF and one middle IF and use Hairy as an OF sub.
3) Acquire one starting RF and bolster the starting rotation and move either Wood or Rusch to the pen.
With that said, here's the hope that the Hot Stove League continues to boil now that the Winter GM meeting has ended. Well at least for those of us who enjoy watching the boys at Clark and Addison.