It's very early still in the offseason -- the Cubs might still sign a free agent, or make a trade, involving major-league players -- but I thought I'd take a look at what might be the 25-man roster, based on who's on the 40-man roster as of today, December 10, and what the total major-league payroll might be.
To do this, I'll first take numbers from this updated salary spreadsheet, which has definitive numbers for 13 players; add to that what will be the likely arb awards or agreements for arb-eligible players, and finally, post numbers for pre-arb renewal players. Some of those will make the major-league minimum ($490,000 in 2013); some will make a bit more due to good performances in previous years. The Cubs no longer have any obligations for players no longer with the team -- Carlos Zambrano's deal was the last one they had to pay off.
Here are the salaries listed for the 13 players on the spreadsheet (not including incentive bonuses):
Alfonso Soriano: $19,OOO,OOO Carlos Marmol: $9,8OO,OOO Scott Feldman: $6,OOO,OOO Starlin Castro: $5,857,143 Scott Baker: $5,5OO,OOO Kyuji Fujikawa: $4,5OO,OOO David DeJesus: $4,25O,OOO Nate Schierholtz: $2,25O,OOO Ian Stewart: $2,OOO,OOO Dioner Navarro: $1,75O,OOO Jorge Soler: $1,666,667 Shawn Camp: $1,35O,OOO Gerardo Concepcion: $1,2OO,OOO
Those numbers total $65,123,810. A couple of notes: Soler and Concepcion will likely not see the major leagues in 2013, but they will still be paid. So that makes just 11 of those players likely to be on the 25-man roster; we thus need 14 other players to fill out the 25-man roster. Stewart's deal is non-guaranteed, but unless he has a total failure of a spring training, he's likely to be the Opening Day third baseman.
There are two players who are likely to get medium-to-large increases via salary arbitration: Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. Garza made $9.5 million in 2012; let's pencil him in for $11.5 million. Shark made $2.64 million in 2012; he's likely to get a hefty increase after his fine year, so let's say $5.5 million.
We're now at $82,123,810 -- and 13 major-league players, so we need 12 more. Let's start with those who are virtual locks for the 25-man roster.
Anthony Rizzo made the major-league minimum in 2012; he'll get a raise, I would assume, to around $550,000. Running total: $82,673,610.
Welington Castillo will be the starting catcher. He made the major-league minimum last year; $500,000 sounds right, leaving us at $83,173,810.
Darwin Barney made $500,000 in 2012; he's not yet arb-eligible, but I imagine the Cubs will reward his fine season with a significant raise. Let's say $750,000; the total now reads $83,923,810.
Luis Valbuena made $492,500 in 2012; let's give him a raise to $525,000. Running total: $84,448,810.
James Russell made $500,000 last year; he's arb-eligible, so he's likely to get a raise to around $2 million. Running total: $86,448,810.
We now have four starting pitchers, two catchers, five infielders, three outfielders, and four relief pitchers. We'll need to add a starting pitcher, three relievers, and three more bench players to fill out our roster. Remember, I'm only going on who's available right now -- new acquisitions could bump these numbers up significantly.
Travis Wood is the No. 5 starter as of now; in 2012, he made the minimum. Let's move him up to $525,000; the running total is now $86,973,810.
As of now, it would appear that Michael Bowden, Rafael Dolis and Alberto Cabrera will fill out the bullpen. You can fill in any other names you want (Hector Rondon or Jeff Beliveau, for example); they'll all probably get the major-league minimum. 3 x $490,000 = $1,470,000, and the running total is $88,443,810.
Three bench players -- take your pick from among Tony Campana, Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt, or any one of a number of non-roster guys who could make the team. Again, they'll make the major-league minimum, $1,470,000 total for the three.
For this 25-man roster (including Soler and Concepcion, who won't be on it but will get their money anyway), the payroll would total $89,913,000. That's about $19 million less than last year's -- but remember, the Cubs were paying Zambrano to not pitch for them. Also, it's entirely possible the Cubs will sign another free-agent starter (Shaun Marcum, perhaps, or even Ryan Dempster), which would raise that number by about $10 million. As I said, this is a very early look at what the Opening Day payroll might look like.