Have the Cubs shot their budget?
Goat Friend Paul Sullivan had an interesting article this morning, detailing how the Cubs may shoot their budgetary wad on pending free agents Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster. Wait, you mean that the gravy train isn't infinite in length?
This actually conflicts a bit with other reports that state the Cubs may expand the payroll to $150 million, but it's pretty much a yearly story that comes out at around this time. In fact, for those of you who've never caught on, your annual Tribune story cycle runs like this:
Early October: Good news! The Cubs might spend THIS MUCH MONEY this off season!
Mid-Late October: Well, maybe they won't have that much money to spend . . .
Early November (the past 2 years, anyway): Holy shiz-it, the Cubs are going after Superstar Free Agent Guy!
Mid November: Have the Cubs finished their major acquisitions?
It's the same news cycle every winter. But I think that Sullivan's speculation that Hendry and the Cubs won't be making waves is just that - speculation. However, I will submit to you one thought:
The Cubs can pretty much keep the offense they have, and they'll compete. Point of fact, they don't need to upgrade to reach the playoffs, but certainly we have to hope that they will if we want to see them burst through the post season and win, at long last, a World Series. More to the point, there really aren't any easy upgrades out there. Players like Adam Dunn are overrated and don't fit into the Cubs plans defensively. In reality, the one guy I'd love to see the Cubs break the bank to acquire is Jake Peavy, who is a bargain at 10 million a year. For that kind of money, it's worth going over-budget.
So, it remains to be seen what Hendry and the Cubs will do to improve, if anything. Perhaps we should be happy if they manage to keep Dempster and Wood, which I expect is likely to happen.