Cubs put keen eye on 2011 salaries

Cubs put keen eye on 2011 salaries

HOUSTON -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Carlos Zambrano is staying. Hendry hasn't finalized what areas need to be improved next year, and was encouraged by the young players this year.

Zambrano, who finished 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA, has a no-trade clause, but earlier this year said he would waive that if the team wanted to move him.

"I've never assumed that he really wanted to go," Hendry said Sunday. "He earned the contract that he got. I've always assumed that he will be pitching for the Cubs. I'm glad he's righted the ship and had a really good end."

The Cubs' Opening Day starter, who is signed through 2012, closed the season 8-0 with a 1.41 ERA in 11 starts since coming back from the restricted list.

Hendry said he had yet to meet with Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts regarding the payroll for next season. At the Cubs' final home game, Ricketts said he expected the 2011 payroll would be lower than this year when it was the highest in the National League.

The Cubs are committed to about $103 million in player salaries for next season and the only free agent on the roster is Xavier Nady. Does Hendry feel he has to move some high salaried players?

"I don't know yet," he said. "Tom and I have not had any final conversation on what the payroll will be and what my thoughts are on improving the club."

Hendry plans on meeting with some of his top advisors, such as assistant general manager Randy Bush, player development director Oneri Fleita and scouting director Tim Wilken, plus other scouts, to discuss the Cubs' needs before meeting with Ricketts.

There are quite a few young players who impressed Hendry this season and more in the system, he said.

"The good news is we have so many guys from our system who won't be making a lot of dollars who have come up and earned their stripes that there will be room for improvement," he said. "I feel comfortable as always with Tom Ricketts and his family, that the payroll and money put into player development and scouting will not be a negative."

What about Zambrano saying the Cubs need to sign free-agent-to-be Adam Dunn? Hendry wouldn't comment about the Nationals first baseman to avoid tampering.