Alright everyone, the Free Agent Frenzy starts tomorrow. So, I decided to give you my plan as the new GM of the Chicago Cubs.

Here is my off-season shopping list. I am including a quick rationale for my choice and then give you the roster breakdown.

Barry Zito
This one, in my mind, is a must for Jim Hendry. Nothing he could go after will say that the Cubs are serious more than getting a guy like Zito. It’s going to be a bidding war. Assuming that the Cubs have not won the Matsuzaka sweepstakes, Zito is the best pitcher on the market. Hendry needs to add him to the mix. approximate Salary – 15 million per year

Steve Trachsel
No, i’m not crazy on this one. Trachsel was one of my favorite pitchers when he was with the Cubs. He’s a good veteran to have in the mix and would give the Cubs a starter with experience, instead of having to turn to a guy like Marmol, Marshall, or Guzman. He would be cheap enough and valuable enough in the event we wanted to move him if Prior was 100% again. Let’s not forget too that he won 15 games last year, one behind Zito and Zambrano. That is a good number four or five pitcher if you ask me. approximate Salary – 3 million per year

Julio Lugo
I can’t sit through another season of Ronny Cedeno or deal with Ceasar Izturis. I watched this guy with the Devil Rays most of last season and he was the table setter for their offense. He is just 30 years old as well. He struggled out west in LA, but in Tampa, his numbers were great. He hit .308 with a .373 OBP and an .871 OPS. Couple that with 18 SB, just 4 CS and some rock solid defense and you’ve got yourself a great hitter for your lineup. Approximate Salary – 8 million per year

Dave Roberts
At 34 years old, Dave Roberts looks like he’s in his forties. He’s still playing well though. Last year, with the Padres, Roberts hit .293 and got on base at a .360 clip. He doesn’t hit for power, but he has the speed to steal Juan Pierre type bases. Last year he stole 49 and was successful 89% of the time. That’s well above the 70% threshold to be considered valuable. Because of his age, Roberts would allow the Cubs flexibility in going with a shorter contract to keep CF open for Pie if he ever gets his head out of his butt. Approximate Salary – 4 million per year

Carlos Lee
I debated whether to go for Lee or J.D. Drew. Yes, Drew is younger, but he’s very injury prone. This is going to be one of our big boppers. We can’t go sign a guy who very well could be hurt. Lee has essentially reached his peak in my opinion, but we have at least 4 years of that peak. .300 average with 35 to 40 HR and 110 to 120 RBI is a must for this offense. We need to make a second bold statement beside Zito and Lee gives us that statement. Let’s get him in here and rub it in the Sox face for what they let go. He has said he wants to play in Chicago so let’s make that happen. Approximate Salary – 14 Million per year

Mark DeRosa
This guy can fill out our bench very nicely, or start at 2b for us to give Theriot some time down in AAA to mature. He can play all over the infield and even plays a little in the corner outfield. He’s a hard nosed player that this team sorely needs. He’d add flexibility for Uncle Lou. Approximate Salary – 2.5 Million per year

Greg Zaun
I’m all for bringing back Henry Blanco. However, since the Cubs may not have that in their plans, let’s make another bold move and bring in a backup catcher that can actually hit the ball. Zaun is 35 years old, so you can’t imagine teams are going to be beating down his door. He did hit 12 homeruns last year in just 290 AB. He also had an OBP of .363, compared to Blanco’s 6 HR and .304 OBP. Approximate Salary – 1 Million per year


2007 Opening Day Cubs Roster

SP – Zambrano
SP – Zito (L)
SP – Hill (L)
SP – Miller
SP – Trachsel

MR – Howry
MR – Eyre (L)
MR – Wuertz
MR – Aardsma
MR – Marshall (L)
MR – Pignatiello (L) / O’Malley (L) – Depends on Spring Training
CL – Dempster

C – Barrett
1b – Lee
2b – Theriot or DeRosa
SS – Lugo
3b – Ramirez
LF – Lee
CF – Roberts
RF – Jones

C – Zaun
IF – Izturis or Cedeno
IF – Theriot or DeRosa
OF – Murton
OF – Pagan

With my approximates in FA signings and the current roster of players, that would put the Cubs payroll at around 115 to 120 million dollars. That’s not unrealistic, especially if the Cubs are as serious about winning the World Series as our new president says they are.

Notice that Kerry Wood is not coming back and Mark Prior is not even figured into the equation. I’d like to see the Cubs try to deal him for some top quality prospects to begin to build this farm back up.

So sound off. You know you want to tear my plan to shreds. All I ask is that you be gentle.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail