Cubs Estimated 2012 Payroll

Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs and Geovany Soto celebrate a Cubs victory against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Both players will get raises in 2012. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

With the signings of all the Cubs' arb-eligible players except Matt Garza, we can now estimate what the 25-man roster payroll will be for this season.

I'm not usually into roster construction, but this is a useful exercise in trying to figure out what the major league payroll will be, how it relates to last year's, and how much might be left over for the draft and international signings.

According to USA Today, the Cubs' payroll for 2011 was $125,047,329; ESPN.com reports a slightly larger figure of $126,380,663, and Cot's Baseball Contracts says that the Opening Day 2011 figure was $134,004,000.

Follow me past the jump for what is, admittedly, a guess at a 25-man Opening Day roster and what it will cost. This assumes that no further trades or signings are made, which might not be the case. But at least it'll give us a ... um, ballpark figure. For the purposes of this exercise, I am assuming that Matt Garza will make the figure he asked for, $10,225,000; the Cubs offered $7,950,000. They'll probably settle somewhere in the middle.

Listed in order by salary. I have put most of the sub-arb players at the MLB minimum, except for Starlin Castro, who I assume will get a raise. The figure for Chris Volstad is the difference between Carlos Zambrano's 2012 salary ($18,000,000) and the amount Volstad was reported to have signed for. Jeff Samardzija's number is an estimate.

Alfonso Soriano: $18,000,000
Chris Volstad: $15,345,000
Ryan Dempster: $14,000,000
Matt Garza: $10,225,000
Carlos Marmol: $7,000,000
Marlon Byrd: $6,500,000
Geovany Soto: $4,300,000
Paul Maholm: $4,250,000
David DeJesus: $4,250,000
Kerry Wood: $3,000,000
Randy Wells: $2,705,000
Ian Stewart: $2,237,500
Jeff Samardzija: $2,000,000
Jeff Baker: $1,375,000
Reed Johnson: $1,150,000
Blake DeWitt: $1,100,000
Starlin Castro: $800,000
Tony Campana: $480,000
Travis Wood: $480,000
Bryan LaHair: $480,000
Darwin Barney: $480,000
Welington Castillo: $480,000
James Russell: $480,000
Chris Carpenter: $480,000
Rafael Dolis: $480,000

There's probably one too many starting pitchers on that list and one too few relievers; I'm assuming Castillo is the backup catcher, though it could be Steve Clevenger or someone else. Either way, the backup catcher salary is probably going to be the minimum. The 25-man roster might include a few different names than the ones I have listed here, but my guess is -- not many.

It doesn't seem likely that both DeWitt and Baker will make the Opening Day roster, but for now, since they have published salary figures, I included both.

Unless I added wrong, the total of these 25 salaries, along with the $5 million of Carlos Peña's 2011 deal that was deferred to this year, is $107,077,500 -- a significant decrease from the 2011 payroll, almost 25% lower. Some of the extra money clearly has gone for the hiring of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and the rest of the expanded front office -- but that doesn't add up to over $20 million.

Now, I could be wrong about some of the renewal players -- they could get more, but that wouldn't make more than a couple million dollars worth of difference. On the other hand, Garza could (and probably will) get less that what he is asking for. But it would seem to me that the Cubs have room for another acquisition or two before spring training begins.

Have at it.

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