Monday, December 13, 2010

A very early look at the 2011 payroll

Well, we got Carlos Pena last week…and we are still waiting to see if the Cubs will sign Brandon Webb or trade for Matt Garza…

It’s interesting, in years past, by this point, the Cubs typically are looking for a player or two to bolster up the bench or solidify the bullpen…this year we are looking for bargains to put in the lineup or rotation. Ugh!

With the exception of signing Webb/Garza and adding someone to the bullpen, unless the Cubs trade someone away, we are starting to get a good idea of what the payroll for 2011 is going to look like.

First, the position players under contract:
Soriano: $18 million
Byrd: $5.5 million
Fukudome: $13.5 million
Ramirez: $14.6 million
Baker: $1.175 million
Pena: $5 million (and another $5 million deferred to next year)

Pitchers under contract:
Zambrano: $17.875 million
Dempster: $13.5 million
Silva: $5 million (with an addition $5.5 million being paid by Seattle)
Samarzija: $2.8 million
Grabow: $4.8 million (good grief!!!)

So, in total, the Cubs contract commitments as of right now are $101.75 million.

Here’s the problem…that covers only 11 players. The Cubs still need to pay 14 more players for the 25 man roster and another 15 players after that on the 40 man roster.

It will be a little while before he hear arbitration numbers, and I’m sure one of other blog sites (ACB) can give fairly accurate numbers for the arbitration eligible guys, but I’m going to give bullshit rough estimates anyway. (But I’m not going to give my reasoning today.)

Marmol: $5 million ($2.125 million last year)
Marshall: $2 million ($950k last year)
Gorzelanny: $1.2 million ($800k last year)
Soto: $2.5 million ($575k last year)
Hill: $800k ($700k last year)

I might be a bit low on Soto…but we’ll see.

The total for the arbitration folk is then $11.5 million…and total for the 16 players is $113.25 million.

The 40 man roster in currently full…so the assuming the Cubs pay these guys in line with what we would expect, you can probably average salary to liberally be around $500k per player remaining on the 40 man roster...that’s 24 players at $500k per person results in $12 million. That puts the Cubs at $125.25 million for 2011.

What does this mean? Well, first off, it could mean the Cubs still have some money to spend. We’ve heard estimates that the Cubs are looking to reduce payroll by as much as 10% this season. That would knock it down from the $146 million last year to around $132 million. David Kaplan stated a week ago that the payroll could be cut by between 15% and 20%. If that’s so, the target would be between $117 and $124, of which the Cubs are currently over.

At the very best, the Cubs probably have about $7 million more to spend…and at the worst, have about $8 million to shed (trading Fukudome?).

I personally can’t imagine the payroll will be under $130 million which would mean that the Cubs have room to acquire at least one more player before the season…and Matt Garza would fit that category as he should get a contract of about $6 million in 2011. If Brandon Webb were signed for $5 million, that might leave a little bit left for the Cubs to get a right handed setup man for $2 or $3 million to round off the team. And remember, for each player the Cubs add they have to take a player off the current 40 man roster (and thus get that $500k back).

In the end, the Cubs probably have a little wiggle room before the season starts. As we get arbitration numbers and other signings are announced, I’ll come back to this and update it.