Examining the Cubs Payroll Situation


The Chicago Cubs came into the 2010 season with the third highest payroll in major league baseball at approximately $145MM. However, that is likely going to drop as Chairman Tom Ricketts told the media that he expects their payroll to drop next season. I would figure the Chicago Cubs payroll to be around $135MM-$140MM next season.

One of the goals that Ricketts had set forth since taking over the Chicago
Cubs is that he wants the Cubs to utilize their farmy system and be able to produce a winning major league team from it. With Ricketts hinting at a slight payroll drop for next season, that may mean the Cubs will have a few more younger players on their team instead of veterans.

However the age old argument will always be that since the Chicago Cubs are a big market team, they have to spend money in order to keep fans going to the game. Even if the Cubs payroll were to drop to $135MM or $140MM the Cubs would still have some room to make additions to the team.

Looking at the Cubs roster right now, for the players that are already under contract for the 2011 season they are already at $100MM for the 2011 season. Meaning they would have approximately $35MM to $40MM to spend during the off-season. This does not take in consideration for arbitration eligible players, or players such as Kosuke Fukudome or Carlos Zambrano who might get traded.

General Manager Jim Hendry insists that the Cubs are about three or four moves away from being contenders. We already know the Cubs biggest priority this off-season is to add a left handed power hitter, presumably for first base. The Chicago Cubs will also have to add a second baseman, starting pitcher, and relief pitcher.

If the Chicago Cubs have their targets locked on Adam Dunn, which many reports indicate they do. Then he will likely come at a contract worth about $14MM a year. Orlando Hudson is a second baseman that the Chicago Cubs may have interest in, and he will likely cost the Cubs about $6MM. The addition of a starting pitcher would likey cost about $8MM, and the addition of a reliever will cost about $6MM.

So, in total if the Chicago Cubs were to add Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, a starting pitcher, and relief pitcher the cost for all of them would likely come out to around $34MM for the 2011 season. That coupled with the players who are already under contract for the 2011 season would bring the Cubs payroll to $134MM. With the inclusion of players that will be tendered and arbitration eligible, the Cubs payroll will likley be close to $140MM for next season. Which would be a $5MM drop from this season.