Optimism Goggles: The Chicago Cubs 25 Man Roster In 2012

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors explored the Chicago Cubs 2012 financial obligations for the upcoming season. Frankly, it's almost exciting -- exciting in the way that post-apocalyptic stories are exciting. It's a fresh start! It's a chance to build a new team, almost.

It looks like, if Tom Ricketts presses the gas pedal to the floor, the Cubs could have anywhere from $50-70 million dollars to throw at free agents. Those who follow me may well know my utter distaste for paying the free agent market premiums. I much prefer talent acquisition through the draft and (more importantly) through trade.

That being said, the Cubs are in a big market and could possibly have a near-Yankees payroll if they ever get their own television network (like the Yankees YES network). As such, I have to accept the Cubs are typically in a position to go after free agents. And with possibly $50M sitting around, what else you gonna do?

The Cubs possible 25 man roster for 2012 would indeed feature some carryovers from 2011, but there are still some key openings:
RF Tyler Colvin, LHB
3B Aramis Ramirez, RHB (maybe)
CF Marlon Byrd, RHB
Geovany Soto, RHB (Arb 2)
2B Darwin Barney, LHB
...the bench...
Koyie Hill, RHB (Arb 3)
INF Jeff Baker, RHB (Arb 3)
UT Blake DeWitt, RHB (Arb 1)
...And the pitchers:
SP Ryan Dempster, RHP (maybe)
SP Matt Garza, RHP (Arb 3)
SP Randy Wells, RHP (Arb 1)
CL Carlos Marmol, RHP
SU Sean Marshall, LHP
RP Marcos Mateo, RHP 
RP James Russell, LHP
So, Tyler Colvin could realistically play either first or right field, meaning the Cubs could seek either spot through free agency. What's that you say? Albert Pujols still hasn't signed a long-term extension with the Cardinals?

Yeah, this may not be the best free agency class in 2012 (I haven't checked), but there's at least one big signing the Cubs could look into. Though I'm not in favor of throwing $30M and 10 years Pujols's way, I don't think I'd complain if we got him.

Also, the Cubs presently have Barney slotted at first second base, sharing playing time with Jeff Baker. Honestly, that's not optimal. Barney aught to be a bench player and Baker could still be a platoon mate for a much better lefty.

Altogether, the Cubs have openings at: 1B/RF, 2B, 4th OF (Fernando Perez please?), possibly 3B, possibly SP, and 3 RP spots. Hopefully the RPs will be filled with trades or cheap free agents, as the Rays prove year in and year out that prudent GMs can build bullpens cheaply.

Either way, the Cubs have some openings and the money to fill them. The 2012 season could be pretty fun.

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