Wednesday, February 14, 2007

hey, big spender!

Pitchers and catchers report this weekend, and one of the biggest psychodramas and stories heading in will be if and how the Chicago Cubs are going to take the nearly $300 million they spent over the off-season and turn it into a winning team.

You may recall that a good chunk of that cash went to Ted Lilly, who will likely have better numbers in the NL and may be a good #2 behind the man to your right, Carlos Zambrano. The most sizeable contract went to Alfonso Soriano, who got $136 million for eight years (the man will likely be retired after his contract is up, so presume some down years on that back end), and Aramis Ramirez got a piece for an extension. As the ESPN piece above notes, Kerry Wood got some extra cash, and they also inked Mark DeRosa for infield and outfield duties. Now, Zambrano saw all that cash floating around, and he wants his due or he wants out after the season*.

Problem is, while the Wrigley faithful won't be as dependent upon the injury-prone (understatment, really) Wood and Mark Prior, they'll need them if they're going to top the division. If you get Zambrano, Lilly, and a full season out of Prior (big if), you have a serious shot in a weak division. But, again, big if, and where are all those outfielders going to play? Soriano's only played one full season in left, and now they want to make him a CF.

This team may win. They'll be fun to watch, but they'll make the Cub faithful tear hairs out waiting to see what kind of team $300 million can buy.

(*Something about this off-season is getting to current players who have a year left -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera wants the team to extend him or he's gonna bolt, too.)


Mini Me said...

What an offseason they had. They better win too. And they better resign Zambrano. If he hits the open market next year, wow. He could get $160-170 m.

Signal to Noise said...

They can't let Zambrano hit the market and he knows it -- this is part of the negotiation tactic. He'll have an extension by the time the season starts.

One More Dying Quail said...

Should I be expecting a check in the mail from the Cubs soon? Shit, they've paid everyone else in the continental U.S...

I hope they don't sign Zambrano. I'd like to see what he pulls in next winter.