The spin from the Trib recently is trying to brace the faithful that money needed to be spent for next years version of the Chicago National League Ball Club may not increase very much. No hard rational is being given for this approach, but it seems that the Trib is hoping the Cubs fans will buy into the fact that the 2008 Cubs won 97 games, and only some minor tweaking will be necessary to get them to the World Series.
Well I'm not buying it, are you?
If we breakdown the current roster we notice that without resigning Dempster, Wood, Howry and Lieber, the payroll due to backloaded contracts will increase from $104M in 2008 to $111M in 2009. Now the Cub's total 2008 payroll was $118M, which means that some $14M went to the other nuts and bolts on the team. If that ancillary $14M remains static in 2009, the payroll would sit at $125M without doing a thing to upgrade, or replace Dempster, Wood, Howry and Lieber.
Pretty grim facts for Cub fans when the bean counters feel they only need a moderate increase in payroll to tweak the team.