Who goes where
Ok, here's what I say we do for right now.
Given that Lou Piniella has just announced we're "set" for starting pitching, I'm taking that into account and not adding any starters.
SP5: Note 1
SP6/Swing man: Note 1
Closer 1: Note 1
Closer 2: Note 2 and Note 4
Set-up 8th inning: Carlos Marmol
Set-up 6-7th inning: Kevin Hart *OR* Michael Wuertz
Long Reliever/Mop-up guy: Rich Hill
Lefty One-Out GuY: Neal Cotts
Catcher 1: Soto
Catcher 2: Blanco (Having this good a backup catcher is worth 3 million)
Backup 2B/SS: Theriot
CF2: Reed Johnson
RF: Fukudome, presuming he can re-learn to hit
Util/PH 1: Hoffpauir, or if he suddenly starts sucking, sign Doug Mientkiewicz while his price is low (We need a backup first baseman other than Daryle Ward)
Util/PH 2: Note 3
Util/PH 3: Note 4
Note 1: As of now, Marquis is the fifth starter, and Samardzija is the closer. If we can sign/develop someone else to be closer, than Samardzija is the 5th starter, and Marquis is the Swing Man.
Note 2: I believe in having two closers: that way you can bring in one in a critical situation (i.e. bases loaded, none out, small lead) early in the game, and bring in the other in the 9th inning. However, the 9th-inning closer should be gotten as cheaply as possible, as he's not as important (in my opinion) as the guy who can get you out of bases-loaded no-out jams with minimal damage.
Note 3: I don't know who's available to fill this slot. I advocate Nick Punto, who can play 2B, 3B, and SS, and well (although he might need some practice at wrigley, being used to the Metrodome) and who earned $2.4M last year while putting up decent numbers. He can probably be had for a discount.
Note 4: Realistically, we aren't going to get the two closers I advise, so drop one of them for another backup bat, preferably an outfielder who can play all outfield positions. Maybe Scott Podsednik, who earned $750,000 last year, doesn't hit too well, but can play both LF and CF fairly well, and has just over 100 career innings in RF (and did well in those games.)
In short, the three guys not on the Cubs last year I advocate signing are 1. a closer, any closer; 2. Nick Punto, 3. Scott Podsednik. For the closer role, one possibility that can be had cheap is Juan Rincon; yes, he's sucked the last two years, but was dominant for 3 years before that; if we can make Lilly not suck, and Marquis suck less, we can probably fix up Juan Rincon. He made $2.5M last year but
can probably be had for less given the ERA the last two years; maybe even sign him to a minor league contract and see if he can put it together in spring training.
I think these three guys can be had for a total well under $10M, as we'd be "buying low" on all three. This wouldn't put much of a dent in the budget while retaining the other 22 guys I mentioned.