Ricketts and Hendry have both gone on record stating you cannot re-build and start over as a big-market team. Hendry has gone as far as to compare the Cubs to the Red Sox and Yankees in respect to big market teams. Hendry also says the Cubs a just a few moves away from contending but if you are a big market team why don’t you make a ton of moves and win a World Series? It Hendry and Ricketts are going by what they are suggesting then I in turn say put your money where your mouth it!
The Yankees current payroll for 2011 is $207,047,964.00 and is expected to rise to $213,000,000.00 for 2012.
The Red Sox current payroll for 2011 is $163,822,475.00 and is expected to rise to $180,000,000.00 for 2012.
The Cubs current payroll is $134,000,000.00 and is unknown what to expect in 2012. We do know without arbitration, contract renewal, and trades the Cubs payroll would be 60 million for 2012.
The fact is the Cubs are under 29 million from the Red Sox payroll and 63 million from the Yankees payroll in 2011. Going into next season the Cubs would have a ton of ground to make up to stay a “big market team.” With certain contract renewals, extensions, and arbitration the Cubs payroll could be around 90 million and that is being generous. So if the Cubs want to remain in that category of a big market team and not rebuild they need to GO BIG or GO HOME!
So if I am Ricketts here is what I do to show the Cubs, their fans, the city of Chicago, and baseball in general; I spend money the right way and become a BIG MARKET TEAM! For argument sake lets say the Cubs start off with 70 million and have a projected payroll of 170-180 million for 2012. Leaving the Cubs to spend 100-110 million in 2012 on free agents, contract extensions, etc… Here is what I do.
1. Fire Hendry, Crane Kenney, and the entire coaching staff besides Rudy Jaramillo.
2. Hire Pat Gillick as President, Brian Cashman as GM, Mike Arbuckle as Assistant/Advisor to GM, and Greg Maddux as Assistant GM.
3. Hire Ryne Sandberg as Manager and let him assemble his own staff besides Jaramillo. Ryno suggested last season he would have asked Larry Bowa to be his bench coach.
4. Get the balls rolling on the “Cubs Network” and have it ready to debut by the offseason in 2013. That would bring more revenue, ads, sponsors, etc to afford the larger payroll and upgrades all around to the team, ballpark, and surrounding areas. Pretty much everything Cubs.
5. Cut, trade, non-tender, let leave via free agency, or send to the minors the following players Blake DeWitt, Koyie Hill, Randy Wells, Alfonso Soriano, John Grabow, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Ortiz, Jeff Smardzija, Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez, Reed Johnson, and Lou Montanez.
Free Agent Signings
1. Albert Pujols- 6 years 240 million with 7 year mutual option. I have his contract increase starting with 30 million and increasing each year until 2015 then it starts to decrease. Much like Arod’s contract does. I of course include perks, bonuses, benefits, etc to bring the contract close to 280 million. I am paying him more a year with this contract because I am not willing to pay 10 years 300 million. I also pay more a year because he is going to be starting at 3rd base for the Cubs!
2. Prince Fielder-7 years 180 million. I have Prince’s amount of his contract increasing each year. I actually have the same incentives, bonuses, and perks as Pujols. I draw up Fielders contract much like Mark Teixeira’s. If you are going to model someone might as well be the Yankees. I will start paying him 20 million in 2012.
3. CJ Wilson- 4 years 60 million. I pay him above the salary Dempster received from the Cubs when he was 31 but below the contract signed by Lackey and Beckett in Boston. This contract would be a straight across which means he will be paid 15 million a year for 4 years. Wilson would likely take his deal because it is over double what he is being paid this season.
4. Ryan Madson- 3 years 18 million. It will be hard to take him from the Phillies but for a guy that pitches out of the pen or rotation and be dominate I think you overpay at an average of 6 million a year.
5. Jason Isringhausen- 2 years 4 million. A nice increase from the 750K he is making his year and some security as well. He has almost regained his closer potential and is a nice veteran guy for your pen.
6. Greg Dobbs- 1 years 1.5 million. Another nice increase from the 600K he received. He would make an ideal utility guy from the left side.
7. Johnny Gomes- 2 year 3 million. Add power and attitude to the bench for Gomes.
8. Ivan Rodriguez- 2 years 5 million. Finally a catcher Soto can learn from and be a mentor to him. You cannot get a better backup catcher than Pudge and signing him to be a mentor and part-time catcher at 5 million over 2 years he will jump at that. Not to mention this season he has a 48% CS rater and it was 34% last year. Not bad for being 40!
1. Jeff Baker- 2 years 3 million. Younger version of Mark DeRosa and you get what you see.
2. Kerry Wood- 2 years 8 million. End Wood’s career with the deal he should have had last season.
3. Ryan Dempster- 3 years 40 million. Opt out of deal and lands with 13 million over 3 years to end his career with the Cubs.
With all the free agent signings and current players resigning the Cubs would take on 97 million in new contracts for 2012. This does not take into account for non-tender, trading, or the releasing of players I listed above. Nor does it reflect the salary of management and coaches or salary arbitration. Here is what 97 million gets you in 2012, your lineup, bench, rotation, and bullpen.
Brett Jackson RF
Starlin Castro SS
Albert Pujols 3b
Prince Fielder 1st
Marlon Byrd CF
Tyler Colvin LF
Geovany Soto C
Darwin Barney 2B
The Cubs have a lineup that is finally balanced nicely with alternating L/R bats besides Soto and Barney. Not to mention the balancing of speed and power allows for the top of your order to create runs while the middle power them home. With Pujols and Fielder you have the scariest 3 and 4 hitters in baseball and maybe even top 10 all time. You also have a nice balance of youth and veterans that keeps you a big market team but still producing your own players. The thing I love about this lineup is over the next 6 years you will have the same corner infielders and over the next 5 you will have a young middle infield growing together. The same can be said for Jackson and Colvin. By the time Byrd is gone then Szczur could be ready and you put him in RF and slide Jackson in CF. I love this lineup but what is not to like?
Ivan Rodriquez C
Jeff Baker IF/OF
Tony Campana OF
Johnny Gomes OF
Greg Dobbs IF
One of the Cubs major weaknesses this season is the bench. They did not have enough pop, speed, or versatility’; with this lineup the hit 2 of three. The Cubs add Gomes to help with the pop, Baker and Dobbs to help with versatility, Campana as a speed wizard on the bases, and Ivan Rodriquez is that nice backup that provides veteran leadership. This is going to be considered the best bench and most entertaining in baseball.
The Cubs add Wilson and re-sign Dempster strengthen their thin rotation. The top 3 in the rotation is very solid but Zambrano projected as a number 4 starter does not look bad when he post a 4.00 ERA and Casher is young and coming off injury so the 5th spot will help him keep down his innings. This will be a top 5 rotation in the NL in my opinion in 2012.
Carlos Marmol C
The bullpen adds a ton of money to the payroll but it is needed because the Cubs need stability there especially with a weak depth in the minors. Add one former closer and one potential closer in Isringhausen and Madson makes this bullpen the envy of all of baseball. You add guys who have had success this season to them and you have a winner.
If the Cubs want to be a BIG MARKET team the have to make BIG MARKET deals like the Yankees and Red Sox. It starts with Ricketts and he wants to be that TEAM then he needs to increase payroll, alter his vision, and show everyone the Cubs are for real. If Ricketts followed everything I laid out he would achieve that because I see this team winning 90+ games and making it to the playoffs and maybe World Series in 2012! But it is up to Ricketts… Are the Cubs a BIG MARKET TEAM or just pretending to be one?
Until Next Time…