Gearing Up for 2007

The Cubs agreed to a 1-year contract with Neal Cotts on Wednesday and avoided arbitration. Cotts signed a $825,000….he made $400,000 in 2006 with the White Sox….deal that includes a $150,000 bonus if he is named MVP of the World Series. Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior and Will Ohman are the remaining Cubs that are arbitration eligible this year.

Tickets for the Cubs’ Spring Training games at HoHoKam Park goes on sale at 10:00am C.T. on Thursday morning so while you are in the virtual waiting room….here is the latest from around the league, an estimated Cubs payroll for 2007, a breakdown of the Jason Marquis deal, rumors about Carlos Zambrano, John Mabry and David Newhan and an interesting report by Jon Heyman from SI.com where he predicts 20 more wins for the Cubs in 2007 plus the fan of fans….

In 2006 the Cubs finished with a record of 66-96, 17 1/2 games back of the Cardinals….a report by Jon Heyman on SI.com predicts the Cubs will win 86 games in 2007. Granted the Central was rather weak in 2006 but a 20-game improvement would put them in the middle of the race at the end of the season for either a Central Division crown or a Wild Card birth. The Dodgers won the Wild Card last year with 88 wins, followed by the Phillies with 85 wins. Heyman is predicting the Phillies to improve by 8 games and the Dodgers by 7 games in 2007. He is also predicting the Brewers to improve by 6 games, the Astros by 4 wins and the Cardinals by 4 wins; despite the fact they have several holes in their starting rotation. So according to Heyman, here is the final standings for the Central Division in 2007:

Cardinals – 87 – 75
Astros – 86 – 76
Cubs – 86 – 76
Brewers – 81 – 81

**note predictions were not given for the Reds or the Pirates

Carlos Zambrano…. According to a report by Jon Heyman on SI.com, with a productive season Zambrano could be looking at a $150 million dollar contract thanks to Barry Zito’s new deal.

Juiced Balls? …. According to a report from the Associated Press on ESPN.com, a company has claimed that the ball Mark McGwire hit his 70th home run with in 1998 had a “larger rubberized core and a synthetic rubber ring.” According to the study “the ball was juiced.”

The fan of fans…. Kathryn Gemme passed away on Friday at the age of 112. She attended her first Red Sox game at Fenway Park in 1912 and saw Babe Ruth play with the Red Sox. In 2005 the Red Sox took the World Series trophy to her 111th birthday party.

Former Cub dealings…. Brendon Harris was dealt from the Cincinnati Reds to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday. Harris was one of the players dealt in the 2004 trade that brought Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton to the Cubs. The Reds will receive a PTBNL. Jose Hernandez signed a 1-year deal with the Pirates on Wednesday and will make $900,000 if he makes the 40-man roster. Hernandez was one of the players dealt to the Pirates in the Aramis Ramirez trade in 2003.

John Mabry…. According to a report from the Denver Post, the Rockies have long coveted John Mabry and tried to acquire him last summer from the Cubs….wonder who they could have received in return.

David Newhan…. According to a report by Jon Heyman from SI.com, Newhan “appears likely to sign soon with the Mets.”

Jason Marquis’ contract details…. Thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, here is the breakdown of Marquis’ contract. He will receive $4.75 million in 2007, $6.375 in 2008 and $9.875 million in 2009.

40-man Roster (01/04/07)

Pitchers

Rocky Cherry
Neal Cotts – (Arbitration eligible) Signed 1-year deal for $825,000 plus a $150,000 bonus if named MVP of the World Series on 1/3/07
Ryan Dempster - $5 million – signed through 2008
Scott Eyre – $3.5 million – player option for 2008
Angel Guzman – (0-3) $380,000
Rich Hill - (0-3) $380,000
Bobby Howry – $4 million – signed through 2008
Ted Lilly – $5 million – signed through 2010*
Carlos Marmol – (0-3) $380,000
Jason Marquis – $4.75 million – signed through 2009
Sean Marshall – (0-3) $380,000
Juan Mateo – (0-3) $380,000
Wade Miller – $1.5 million (plus incentives) – signed through 2007
Roberto Novoa – (0-3) $380,000
Will Ohman – (Arbitration eligible) Signed 1-year deal in 2006 for $610,000 – 2007 deal should be just above Cotts’ at $1 million
Mark Prior – (Arbitration eligible) Signed 1-year deal in 2006 for $3.65 million – 2007 deal should be around $4 million (plus incentives)
Clay Rapada
Glendon Rusch – $3.25 million – signed through 2007
Jae Kuk Ryu – (0-3) $380,000
Kerry Wood - $1.75 million (plus incentives) – signed through 2007 **
Michael Wuertz – (0-3) $380,000
Carlos Zambrano – (Arbitration eligible) Signed 1-year deal in 2006 for $6.5 million – 2007 deal should be worth between $10 – $12 million – Cubs lose control of Zambrano after 2007 season

Catchers

Michael Barrett – $4.4 million – signed through 2007
Henry Blanco – $1.8 million – signed through 2008, $3 million dollar club option for 2009 with a $300,000 buyout *
Geovany Soto

Infielders

Ronny Cedeno – (0-3) $380,000
Mark DeRosa – $4.33 million – signed through 2009 (details of DeRosa’s contract have not been released, signed a 3-year, $13 million dollar deal)
Brian Dopirak
Cesar Izturis – $4.15 million – signed through 2007, $5.45 million dollar club option for 2008 with a $300,000 buyout
Derrek Lee – $13 million – signed through 2010
Scott Moore
Aramis Ramirez – $8 million – signed through 2010, $14.6 million dollar player option in 2011, $16 million dollar club option in 2012 *
Ryan Theriot – (0-3) $380,000

Outfielders

Buck Coats
Jacque Jones – $4 million – signed through 2008 *
Matt Murton – (0-3) $380,000
Angel Pagan – (0-3) $380,000
Felix Pie
Alfonso Soriano – $9 million – signed through 2014
Daryle Ward – $1.05 million – signed through 2007 with a mutual option for 2008

2007 Total Payroll (estimated) – $100,065,000

The total was figured with Zambrano receiving a $12 million dollar salary for 2007 and each of the auto renewal players (0-3 men) receiving $380,000 in 2007, the league minimum. Cot’s contracts thinks Michael Wuertz, Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton will receive a contract in the $400,000 to $425,000 dollar range.

*Signing Bonuses to be paid in 2007

Ted Lilly – $4 million
Henry Blanco – $750,000
Aramis Ramirez – $5 million
Jacque Jones – $1.33 million ($4 million to payout between 01/06 and 01/08)
Alfonso Soriano – $8 million

Total of Signing Bonuses paid in 2007 – $19,080,000 million

** Kerry Wood received a $3 million dollar buyout when the Cubs opted out of the remainder of Wood’s contract at the end of the 2006 season.

Total Payouts for Players in 2007 – $123,045,000

Note that total does not include Lou Piniella’s contract or any of his coaches. Just a reminder, this is an estimated total.

For more info on MLB contracts, visit Cot’s Baseball Contracts

Salary Arbitration List from ESPN

Remaining Free Agents List from ESPN

Daily Transactions from ESPN

Daily Transactions from CBS SportsLine

Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!

Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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