1) Alfonso Soriano, LF ($16m)
2) *David DeJesus ($3.6m) / Eric Byrnes, RF ($8m - after $3m savings)
3) Derrek Lee, 1b ($13m)
4) Aramis Ramirez, 3b ($14m)
5) Mark DeRosa, 2b ($5.5m)
6) Geovany Soto, C ($.401m)
7) Kosuke Fukudome, CF ($11.5m)
8) Ryan Theriot, SS ($.428m)
Ronny Cedeno ($.407m)
Felix Pie ($.4m)
*Henry Blanco ($1.5m)
*Mark Loretta ($3m)
1) Carlos Zambrano ($17.75m)
2) Rich Harden ($4.5m)
3) *Brad Penny ($7.5m)
4) Ted Lilly ($12m)
5) Jeff Samardjiza ($2m)
1) Chad Gaudin ($1.775m)
2) Sean Marshall ($.4m)
3) Jose Ascaino ($.4m)
4) Angel Guzman ($.401m)
5) *Scott Schowenweiss ($3.6m)
6) Carlos Marmol ($.43m)
7) Kerry Wood ($9m)
*Indicates a new addition or a player who has been resigned
Starting Salary: $112,046,000
Ending Salary: $138,192,000
Cubs send: Michael Wuertz / Neil Cotts to Arizona for Eric Byrnes and $3m per season
Cubs send: Mike Fontenot / Jose Ceda / Rich Hill to Kansas City for David DeJesus
Cubs send: Jason Marquis and $2m to the New York Mets for Scott Scowenweiss
1) Resign Henry Blanco 2years /$3.5m ($1.5m in 2009, $2m in 2010)
2) Resign Kerry Wood 3 years, $30m ($9m in 2009, $10m in 2010, $11m in 2011)
3) Sign Brad Penny to a 2 years / $16m w/ player incentives ($7.5m in 2008, can escalade to $9m if certain number of IP is reached, $8.5)
4) Sign Mark Loretta to a one year $3m contract
This is a very tricky offseason due to largely, what Ryan Dempster managed to do in 2008. He had an "ace" type season, out of relatively nowhere. Normally, you'd resign that player, however, I don't think Dempster can reproduce his season. Secondly, we have to reproduce the .950 OPS from Jim Edmonds last year, something that's going to be very hard as well. To offset these loses, I've made some trades and some signings that should bring us close to the production that those guys had.
First off, I dealt Michael Wuertz and Neil Cotts to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Eric Byrnes and a few million per year. Byrnes doesn't really have a spot in a crowded, young OF in Arizona. Arizona is losing Brandon Lyons and has no real LOOGY in their pen. This saves the Diamondbacks a lot of money, while giving them 2 useful bullpen pieces. Byrnes was hurt allof 2008, but still had an .817 OPS against LHP, and career is an .864 OPS against them. He replaces Johnson, can play RF and CF, and will be my platoon partner with my other half of my RF.
My other half of RF will be David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals. With the departure of Mark Grudz at 2b, they have no one. Fontenot after having a very good 2008 will give him good trade value. We also deal Jose Ceda and Rich Hill, which should help out an amazingly poor pitching staff. Rich Hill is mostly just a toss in piece, and if he can figure it out, the Royals should be pretty happy. DeJesus posted an .875 OPS against RHP last year, but only a .725 against LHP, which is why Byrnes becomes important.
To replace Dempster, I've signed Brad Penny who's coming off an injury plagued season. He should come fairly cheap, but I've added in some incentives in his deal to escalate his contract in salary. My biggest questionmark will probably be the starting rotation, but it shouldn't be that bad. When healthy, I've got 3 very good front line guys, Lilly and Shark. If someone is hurt / fails (in the case of Shark), I've managed to keep Gaudin and Marshall to step into the roll, thus pushing Shark (if he failed) back into the bullpen.
The Bullpen should be largely intact, only with moving Shark into the rotation, however, keeping Guzman and Ascaino, one of them should replace Howry, and Schoewenweis gives the Cubs a legit LOOGY, something we were missing last year. Jason Marquis, on the other hand, gives pitching starved NYM a quality back end starter, and one whom they can part ways with at the end of the season. It also allows the Cubs to save some money. Keeping Woody and Marmol will give the team a very strong end of the bullpen once again.
I'm not sure if my team is going to be able to repeat the 95 win season of last year. Penny and Harden have the injury question behind them, but if one of them can be healthy all year long, they should be able to do a pretty good Dempster impression. If Shark outperforms Marquis in the rotation, we'll be fine, and it might not be that hard for him to do that. The lineup stays intact outside of the new RF combo I've set up, which should give the team a very offensively strong RF, as well as defensively strong. This team should win the division yet again, and should be in the 90+ win plateau. It should be strong in the playoffs as well, giving the cubs a Zambrano/Harden/Penny/Lilly playoff rotation, and sliding Shark back to the pen.